‘I am what I am’: Indonesia’s embattled finance minister speaks out
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‘I am what I am’: Indonesia’s embattled finance minister speaks out

Beloved by the international markets for her professionalism and by most compatriots for her reformist zeal, Mulyani Indrawati is battling with those who prefer things done the old way. Lawrence White spoke to her at the G20 summit.

 Indonesia’s new minister of finance Mulyani Indrawati

"I’m the minister of finance in charge of handling this crisis, and that’s my commitment"
Mulyani Indrawati

IT IS ONE of the largest trophy collections Euromoney has ever seen – a row of gleaming gold and silver statuettes and embossed acrylic tombstones that run the entire length of the far wall in the vast waiting room on the third floor of Indonesia’s new ministry of finance building. The awards and records of successful bond deals testify to the immense acclaim in which minister Dr Sri Mulyani Indrawati is held by the various publications (including this one, in 2006 and 2008) that have named her finance minister of the year, and (more important to her) by the international debt community of bankers and investors that have helped her fund her country cheaply and efficiently over the past four years. The meeting had been due to start at 9am but there’s no one waiting outside Mulyani’s office and after a few phone calls it emerges that she has been called away and might be available at 10.30. Mulyani has acquired a reputation among journalists as a notorious canceller of interviews, and as the clock in the plush trophy room ticks around to 11am there’s plenty of time to contemplate the enormous challenges that have confronted her at home and abroad in recent weeks.

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