This recent article in the New York Times gives a comprehensive summary of Indonesia’s current situation in fairly glowing terms, documenting its progress since the crisis of the late 90s and labeling it an “economic golden child”.

This adds to the growing amount of mainstream media (and investor) attention Indonesia has been getting lately, and it’s frequently mentioned alongside the world’s other emerging giants, China and India, sharing their progress as well as challenges and flaws. The common economic indicators tell the story: GDP is up 6.2% so far this year; the stock market has risen 20% since January; the rupiah has gained 5% against the dollar and US$3.7 billion in foreign direct investment made its way to the country in 2010′s second quarter alone, 51% up on last year. A fund manager at Syailendra Capital says “Indonesia is one of the most interesting, most attractive destinations in the world.”

The article does refer to known shortcomings like excessive and confusing regulation, lack of infrastructure development and an education system in dire need of improvement. Poverty and unemployment remain serious issues. These are, however, viewed in the context of Indonesia’s history since independence where Indonesia has performed admirably, with a relatively peaceful transition to full democracy and stability, staying together despite its unique geographic and multicultural challenges.

All in all, things are looking bright with figures looking good, a growing consumer class and a young population. Big brands are moving in, both as manufacturers and retailers; prices are still high for Indonesia’s rich supply of commodities and the government seems to be doing whatever it can to keep foreign investment coming. Indonesia is “a natural destination” for investors looking for opportunities beyond, or even instead of, Asia’s other big fish.

source & full article: New York Times