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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        8  June 2011

Indonesia's competitiveness rises

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Indonesia's global competitiveness has increased significantly since 2005 but work needs to be done to improve the country's public health, information technology, infrastructure and fight against corruption, a report revealed.

According to the World Economic Forum Report on Global Competitiveness Index launched on Wednesday, Indonesia ranked 44th among 139 countries, moving up 10 notches since 2005, the strongest progress among G20 countries.

"From an economic standpoint, Indonesia has done remarkably well in the past decade and has proven very resilient during the global economic crisis as reflected in the country's competitiveness performance," said Thierry Geiger, economist at the WEF and lead author of the report, on Wednesday.

"From an economic standpoint, Indonesia has done remarkably well in the past decade and has proven very resilient during the global economic crisis as reflected in the country's competitiveness performance," said Thierry Geiger, economist at the WEF and lead author of the report, on Wednesday.

The report stated, "Indonesia now compares favorably with the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa], with the notable exception of China (27th).

Indonesia precedes India (51st), South Africa (54th), Brazil (59th), Russia (63rd) and sits midway with ASEAN, well behind Singapore (3rd) and Malaysia (26th), far ahead of the Philippines (85th) and Cambodia (38th), and relatively close with Thailand (38th) and Vietnam (59th)."

Indonesia's strength, according to the report, lies in its macroeconomic environment (ranked 35th).

"Debt burden has been drastically reduced, credit rating has been upgraded, and savings and investments are also increasing," the report stated.

According to the report, basic education is almost accessible to everyone (49th) but needed further improvement in secondary and tertiary education. While the efficiency of the goods market is also sound (49th), due to a competitive tax regime and intense competition, bureaucracy and trade barriers remained.

The country's large population and its growing middle class also helped improve Indonesia's competitiveness.

"Indonesia should not be complacent, though, many shortcomings persist and robust growth might exacerbate them," Thierry said.

The report stated that infrastructure in Indonesia is still poor and unreliable, and the uptake of information and communication technologies remains limited. The public health is in an alarming condition. Informal employment and precarious working condition are still high. Corruption remains widespread, while greater transparency and predictability are needed in policy-making process.

The report was released ahead of the World Economic Forum on East Asia, taking place in Jakarta June 12 - June 13.

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