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Indonesia’s Jokowi calls on successor to continue commodity downstreaming

Indonesia confirms bauxite export ban to proceed as scheduled

President Joko Widodo called on Wednesday for Indonesia’s next leader to continue his policy to prioritise processing natural commodities onshore, aiming to turn Southeast Asia’s largest economy into a global powerhouse by 2045.

Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, made the remarks in his annual speech in parliament ahead of Indonesia’s Independence Day on Aug. 17.

A presidential election is due on Feb. 14 and the elected candidate will be sworn into office in October next year. Jokowi is not eligible to contest.

“I have reiterated that future leadership will set a path forward for Indonesia’s future,” he said.

“This is not about who the (next) president is … The question is whether or not the future leaders are ready to work in line with what we have started today, or whether or not they are brave or consistent enough,” he said.

Jokowi said the so-called “commodity downstreaming” policy was the foundation of Indonesia’s aspiration to become one of the world’s biggest economies by 2045, at which point the country’s income per capita should reach $25,000.

Indonesia’s gross national income per capita was $4,580 in 2022, according to the World Bank’s data.

The president touted the success of his ban of nickel ore exports, which he said had grown the nickel smelting industry significantly and translated into better welfare for the people.

The policy has been replicated on other mineral ores. Jakarta banned exports of bauxite in June and it will ban shipments of copper ore in May 2024.

Jokowi reiterated that the policy has to be expanded to non-mineral commodities like palm oil and seaweed.

Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto is currently leading in opinion polls for the next presidency, ahead of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.

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