Answering Prabowo, Jokowi says Indonesia will be one of the 10 strongest economies in the world by 2030

Indonesian president Joko Widodo had activists and scholars supporting his campaign. Many of them have since been given special staff positions in the administration. Photo: Biro Pers Setpres

When a fiery speech by Gerindra party chairman (and likely 2019 presidential contender) Prabowo Subianto was released last week in which he warned of a foreign study that predicted that Indonesia would break apart by 2030, many criticized his pessimistic view of the country’s future. When it was revealed that the “study” upon which Prabowo based his speech was actually a sci-fi techno thriller called Ghost Fleet, a large number of jokes and taunts were piled atop that criticism.

President Joko Widodo, the man Prabowo is widely expected to challenge for a second time in next year’s elections, never specifically commented on the Ghost Fleet fiasco, but in a speech he gave yesterday at a meeting of the nation’s regional legislators, Jokowi clearly sought to rebut Prabowo’s pessimistic warning about Indonesia’s dissolution with his own optimistic prediction of the country’s fate in 2030.

“In the year 2030, more or less, we will have become one of the 7 to 10 strongest economies in the world,” the president told the audience at the National Working Meeting of the Association of the Regional People’s Legislative Assembly (DPRD) on Tuesday as quoted by Tempo.

Unlike Prabowo, who has so far only cited Ghost Fleet to back up his 2030 claims, President Jokowi cited actual studies for his predictions.

A report by the McKinsey Global Institute, published in September 2012 and titled, “The archipelago economy: Unleashing Indonesia’s potential”, argues that “Indonesia’s fast-growing economy could become the world’s 7th largest by 2030, up from 16th today, but only if it can further boost productivity to meet growth targets.”

Jokowi also cited World Bank data and models by Indonesia’s own economic and development agencies to predict that Indonesia’s economic position could strengthen even further in the future.

“By 2040-2045, there is a chance that our country will be in the world’s top 5 strongest economies, later even #4, InsyaAllah,” he said.

In Prabowo’s speech, he implied that the reason the country was in danger of dissolving due to the country’s greedy elites owning the vast majority of the country’s land and selling off Indonesia’s resources to foreign powers.

In Jokowi’s talk from yesterday, he seem to address that part of Prabowo’s speech too, saying that there were still many problems Indonesia had to tackle in order to achieve those economic goals.

“Especially inequality, poverty, those are our common tasks, from the center to the outlying regions, we are working hard to resolve things that need to be improved,” he said.

If indeed Prabowo chooses to go up against Jokowi again next year (which is not yet a sure thing), it will be interesting to see if he decides to stick with his apocalyptic warning of Indonesia’s imminent dissolution as his main campaign platform because, based on reactions from the public and the most recent polls, Indonesians generally seem more enthusiastic about Jokowi’s moderate but optimistic vision of the country’s future.