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Indonesia
Country Information
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Country:
Indonesia
Capital:
Jakarta
Currency:
Indonesian rupiah (I

Population: 237,512,352
Government Type: Republic
Riedel Research Coverage by Region

Background

The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; the islands were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan's surrender, but it required four years of intermittent negotiations, recurring hostilities, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to relinquish its colony. Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state and home to the world's largest Muslim population. Current issues include: alleviating poverty, preventing terrorism, consolidating democracy after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing financial sector reforms, stemming corruption, holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations, and controlling avian influenza. In 2005, Indonesia reached a historic peace agreement with armed separatists in Aceh, which led to democratic elections in December 2006. Indonesia continues to face a low intensity separatist movement in Papua.

Economy

Indonesia, a vast polyglot nation, has been undergoing significant economic reforms under President YUDHOYONO. Indonesia's debt-to-GDP ratio has been declining steadily, its foreign exchange reserves are at an all-time high of over $50 billion, and its stock market has been one of the three best performers in the world in 2006 and 2007, as global investors sought out higher returns in emerging markets. The government has introduced significant reforms in the financial sector, including tax and customs reforms, the introduction of Treasury bills, and improved capital market supervision. Indonesia's new investment law, passed in March 2007, seeks to address some of the concerns of foreign and domestic investors. Indonesia still struggles with poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment, and unequal resource distribution among regions. Indonesia has been slow to privatize over 100 state-owned enterprises, several of which have monopolies in key sectors. The non-bank financial sector, including pension funds and insurance, remains weak. Capital markets are underdeveloped. The high global price of oil in 2007 increased the cost of domestic fuel and electricity subsidies, and are contributing to concerns about higher food prices. Located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" Indonesia remains vulnerable to volcanic and tectonic disasters. Significant progress has been made in rebuilding Aceh after the devastating December 2004 tsunami, and the province now shows more economic activity than before the disaster. Unfortunately, Indonesia suffered new disasters in 2006 and early 2007 including: a major earthquake near Yogyakarta, an industrial accident in Sidoarjo, East Java that created a "mud volcano," a tsunami in South Java, and major flooding in Jakarta, all of which caused additional damages in the billions of dollars. Donors are assisting Indonesia with its disaster mitigation and early warning efforts.

Links

Source: Central Intelligence Agency
The World Factbook