The Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF), the first economic conference of its kind, kicked off on Tuesday with Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi expressing Indonesia’s interest to take a greater role in Africa’s development.
The forum, which was initiated by Indonesia, is being held in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“You might ask why did Indonesia initiate the Indonesia-Africa Forum?” said Retno at the opening ceremony. “The quick answer is because Indonesia loves Africa.”
Retno, who participated in the opening dance, later explained that Indonesia and Africa had established their friendly ties in 1955 through the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung.
Since then, the minister said, Indonesia had grown to “love” Africa and closely monitored Africa’s progress, particular initiatives like the Africa Free Trade Continent and the Africa Vision 2063.
“The forum itself was initiated as Indonesia wants equal, caring, sustainable and win-win collaboration for all nations.”
Indonesia wants to be part of developments in Africa, just like Indonesia wanted Africa to be part of its own development, Retno said.
“Please make use of this Forum to unleash all of our potential and possibilities,” she told delegates in her remarks before quoting the lyrics of famous Colombian singer Shakira: “As the song Waka-waka says: this time is for Africa.”
On Tuesday, the forum will feature discussions on policymakers’ perspectives to talk about strategic topics such as economic diplomacy, infrastructure and digital transformations.
On Wednesday, the Indonesia–Africa Business Forum will discuss various topics such as connectivity, the digital economy and South-South and Triangular Cooperation. (ebf)