A Primer on Indonesia

The rise of Indonesia as a geopolitical and economic powerhouse takes center stage as their elections begin.

Indonesia, an often overlooked giant of geopolitical and economic weight, is beginning to emerge as a critical player on the world stage.

This archipelagic country, made up of a young 270 million inhabitants, with an abundance of critical raw materials and a geographic location straddling the second busiest straight in the world, will likely become one of the top 5 or 6 largest economies in the world in the next few years.

Given the strategic importance of the country and the fact that its presidential elections begin tomorrow, we put together this geopolitical and economic deep-dive to get you up to speed.

If you want an overview of the candidates and their positions/platforms, head over to International Intrigue, whom we've partnered with for this research piece and have done an excellent job profiling each of the candidates.

Key Takeaways:

  • On the surface, Indonesia has become an economic success story, especially when viewed through the lens of the drastically improved standard of living for most of its population.

  • Their economy is highly concentrated across economic drivers (commodity exports), export products (coal, palm oil, and nickel), and trade partners (China), and this concentration leaves them exposed to exogenous shocks that are largely out of their control.

  • The new president will need to maintain a grand strategy of non-alignment in an era increasingly marked by multi-polar approaches that will be increasingly incompatible, hostile, and potentially, even existential.

Geopolitical Outlook

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