Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said it is important for Indonesia to leave its inferiority complex behind and showcase itself as one of the world's biggest economies.
"We are already a big economy … but if we still feel inferior, how are we supposed to participate boldly in international summits and conferences?" Jokowi said during a meeting with the heads of Indonesia's overseas missions at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta on Monday (12/02).
He added that Indonesia should stop seeking aid and instead provide international aid to other countries.
The government has begun the process of establishing a single agency for its international aid programs, with an initial budget of Rp 1 trillion ($74 million).
"We must show that we are a big nation. We're a member of the G-20, but we don't embody that; it's as if we're still a small nation," the president said.
The Group of 20 is an international forum whose members account for more than 80 percent of gross world product and about two-thirds of the global population.
In his speech, Jokowi said Indonesia must actively engage in international exhibitions as part of efforts to build an image and perception of the country as a big nation with a growing economy.
He said such endeavors are key to help grow the economy further, as it will impact investment and exports. Jokowi also noted that Indonesia's exports still lag far behind that of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
"What went wrong? This is because of routine, monotony and never having any breakthroughs … Indonesia is the only Asean member state in the G-20, but our exports are behind some of our neighbors," Jokowi said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
He warned that stagnation will further increase the export gap with neighboring countries and called on all stakeholders to seize existing opportunities and capitalize on the country's potential in different markets.