This week my grandson Kris comes home to us. Actually I should say he leaves home; because he lives in Jakarta and will visit us in Zeist, Netherlands. Naturally I hope he will enjoy it as much as we will. Anyway, we will try to hide the gloomy economic mood here, which is so much in contrast to the optimism he has grown accustomed to over there. You know, the biased granddad I am thinks Kris is already that smart he can understand what’s economically going on .
Anyhow, numerous signs are there; economically Indonesia is knocking on the doors of the World’s top-league. Perhaps it already has secretly entered in that league.
And, well, successful companies and countries, especially countries and companies that gained status recently, quite like individuals successfully climbing the socio-economic ladder, often want to show it .
The brand new minister of State Companies, Dahlan Iskan whose image is one of efficiency and integrity, told the press PT Adhi Karya Tbk is planning to build a hundred floor tower in Jakarta.
Well that reminds of an old tradition. From ancient Egyptians, who showed off with Giza Pyramid, to super-rich Dubai and it’s Burj Khalifa, they all did it; they all stuck out their chest calling “mine is the largest”. So in the light of history this new Jakarta tower is still a rather muffled victory cry.
This week there was news on another proof of an Indonesian exhibition of self confidence and flexing muscles.
One of Indonesia’s airlines, Lion Air, honoured it’s name this week. This Indonesian carrier roared loudly and announced it will buy 230 Boeing 737 planes – a world record-breaking number. It’s a phenomenal € 16 billion deal, according to my favourite national newspaper’s report. The newspaper’s economic specialist writes it shows the markets in emerging economies – like the one in RI - expend spectacularly. Suddenly Lion Air’s fleet will be twice as large as the one of KLM.
A month ago I read about a third phenomenon. In what she herself very modestly calls an essay (@CROSSROADS, Democratization and Corporatization of Media in Indonesia) professor ( and fellow blogger) Merlyna Lim mentions a 88.85% use of mobile phones. Which means RI has managed to leap forward right on the mobile front-stage worldwide.
The achievements are great of course.
However it very much depends on where you are and who you are whether you will benefit from them. Mrs Merlyna Lim writes “While teledensity of urban areas has reached 35% or at least 11-25%, in rural areas it only reaches 0.25%“.
It’s not just Telecom-infrastructure though. In general investments tend to concentrate at the centre. It’s still very much a Java and more specifically a Jakarta thing. One’s chances of benefiting from RI’s rise to economic power diminish the more distance there is between you and the capital…
Kris is smart indeed. He will return to South Jakarta as soon he’s got his Sinterklaas presents here .