Indonesia’s President Joko (“Jokowi”) Widodo appears to be using his improving political strength and popularity to introduce much needed economic reforms. His administration is in the early days of a significant policy shift toward creating a more open and modern economy. It has introduced ten packages of regulatory reforms over the past six months and placed considerable emphasis on improving the country’s woefully inadequate infrastructure. 

James Castle, a longtime observer of the Indonesian economy, explained the political factors behind these reforms and what they portend for Indonesia’s economic performance in 2016 and beyond. Carnegie’s Vikram Nehru moderated.

James Castle

James Castle is founder and CEO of CastleAsia, the largest CEO forum in Indonesia. In over thirty years of work in Southeast Asia, Castle has advised in the establishment of numerous foreign direct investment projects and has acted as a consultant to regional governments and many of the world’s largest corporations.

Vikram Nehru

Vikram Nehru is a senior associate in the Carnegie Asia Program. An expert on development economics, growth, poverty reduction, debt sustainability, governance, and the performance and prospects of East Asia, his research focuses on the economic, political, and strategic issues confronting Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.