INS Seminar on Indonesia’s 21st Century Economic Potential

11 Jun 2013


On 11 June 2013, hosted by VNO-NCW and in the company of H.E. Mrs. Retno Marsudi, Ambassador of Indonesia, INS organized a seminar on Indonesia’s 21st Century Economic Potential at the Malietoren in The Hague. Mr. Bernard Wientjes, President of VNO-NCW (Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers), gave the opening remarks. Keynote speaker was Mr. Raoul Oberman, President of McKinsey Indonesia.

Based on the findings of The Archipelago Economy / Unleashing Indonesia’s Potential (Mc Kinsey 2012) Mr. Oberman started with a shock therapy. Referring to a recent football match between an Indonesian and a Dutch team, which ended 2-0 for the Dutch team, he said ‘In economics the Dutch lay 0-2 behind Indonesia!’ Mr. Oberman explained that the Dutch common approach to the Indonesian economy will not be successful unless we take into account Indonesia’s economic reality as member of the G20 and the pace and potential of its development. This is no reason for despair, but we have to work hard to enter the playing field. Elaborating on the conditions to unleash the Indonesian economic potential, Mr. Oberman sees several fields for Dutch trade and investment. But his main message is: ‘Think out of your comfort zone’.

Mr. Cees Ruijgrok, Managing Director Exports of Royal Friesland Campina and former representative of his company in Jakarta, from his expertise and experience gave valuable advises on how to approach the chances & challenges in the Indonesian economy. Mr. Ruijgrok underlined that a more durable approach to doing business in Indonesia would lead to success. Expecting quick results as a basic attitude does not work. ‘Finding a local business partner as well as understanding the cultural and personal specificities, are basic requirements of doing business in Indonesia. Once such more longer term approach would be followed, the reward would be gratifying.’

With a ‘Time to get up’ Ambassador Retno Marsudi encouraged the audience to take up the advocated challenge.

INS chaiman Jesse Kuiper thanked Ambassador Marsudi, the speakers, guests and participants for the synergy they brought to this inspirational meeting.

There was nearly enough time for questions and answers and debate. Ambassador Marsudi in her concluding remarks encouraged the audience to take up the advocated challenge: ‘it is time to get up’. She agreed with Raoul Oberman that ‘Indonesia is no place for people with no guts’.