‘Double-A Team’ inspires new hope for Indonesia
Government officials hope that international investors will look afresh at Indonesia. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government made history with its re-election. It is using a strong popular mandate to tackle corruption and bureaucratic shortcomings head-on. Eric Ellis reports from Jakarta.
Left to right: SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono), Agus Martowardojo and Darmin Nasution
AFTER 30 YEARS of kleptocratic dictatorship and a decade or so of wobbly democracy, Indonesia has no shortage of monuments to bad government, corruption and squandered foreign investment opportunities in a country whose 240 million population, third only to China and India in Asia, suggests it should be a regional champion. There’s the bane of any business visitor to Jakarta, the seaside tollway between downtown and a dated international airport that’s liable to disappear under a high tide. That’s after enduring a contemptuous two- to three-hour queue at arrivals simply to enter the country, often after an hour waiting to pay the $25 "improvement" fee, and all this before getting to luggage that too often goes missing. Then you plunge into several hours of chronic gridlock to get into town. Flying around the sprawling archipelago can be a crap shoot too; Indonesia has one of world aviation’s worst safety records, its aircraft only recently, and tentatively, allowed to fly into Europe’s more exacting skies.