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December 20, 2008

Indonesia expects investments from Middle East

The Indonesian government targets to attract more investment from Middle East oil-rich state especially in the agricultural sector in 2009, despite the global economic downturn, an official said on Thursday quoted by the Jakarta Post.

"I noticed that (Middle Eastern investors) had windfall profits of $1.6 trillion as of August this year from (earlier high prices of) oil," said Muhammad Lutfi, head of Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), adding that this indicates the investors have the liquidity to invest in Indonesia.

According to Lutfi, Arab investors were involved in joint venture companies operation in Indonesia's infrastructure sector, chemical production sector and tourism, in which their investment amounted around 2.55 billion dollars in 2007.

Lutfi was still optimistic about foreign direct investment coming to Indonesia, that the figure was likely to grow by between10.7 percent and 11.3 percent, compared to this year, to reach over 16 billion dollars in 2009.

BKPM also noted that inward investment from January to November this year inked 14.2 billion dollars, which was higher than the full-year target of 9.92 billion dollars.

"There are a number of new investors, including those from Qatar and United Arab Emirates, trying to go global. I'm sure they will be looking for new business opportunities here in the future, for example, in agriculture," he said.

Lutfi said that the country still needed to keep improving its business climate so as to attract foreign investors, including those from the Middle East.

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