Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.
Indonesia is the largest archipelago and the forth populous country in the world, consisting of five main islands namely Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. It has a total of 17,508 islands, among which 6,000 are inhabited. It stretches 5,150 km between the Australian and Asian continental mainland, and divides the Pacific and Indian Oceans at the Equator.
The east monsoon from June to September brings dry weather while the west monsoon from December to March brings rainy season. Transitional period between these two are interposed by occasional rain showers, but even in the midst of west monsoon, temperature range from 21°C (70°F) to 33°C (90°F), except at the higher altitudes, the temperature is cooler.
Heavy rainfalls are recorded in December and January. Humidity is between 60%-100%.
Language and Dialects
There are more than 483 languages and dialects spoken in Indonesia, belong to 350 different ethnic groups of population. Bahasa Indonesia is the national language, written in Roman script and based on European orthography. In all tourist destination areas, English is widely spoken and written.
Indonesia is an emerging global powerhouse in Asia. With the GDP expected to reach US$ 1 trillion in 2012, Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia. Much less affected by the global financial crisis compared to its neighboring countries, Indonesia’s economy grew by 5.7% in 2013, making “The World’s Most Stable Economy in the Last Five Years” according to The Economist Magazine.
Indonesia grew by 6.2% in 2012 and in 2014, stronger economic growth is expected around the lower end of the 5.8-6.2% range. Future economic expansion is expected to include more inclusive growth as nominal per-capita GDP is expected to quadruple by 2020, according to a Standard Chartered report.
A large part of the economic success is a result of growing middle class and stable economic growth. Indonesia is in list of MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey), namely those that were the most attractive to long-term investors due to their favorable demographic profiles.
Indonesia’s debt to GDP ratio has steadily declined from 83% in 2001 to be less than 26% by the end of 2013, the lowest among ASEAN countries, aside from Singapore, which has no government debt.