Ni Komang Erviani , Contributor , The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Sat, 11/15/2008 11:03 AM | Bali
The U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Cameron R. Hume on Thursday reminded people about the ongoing global financial crisis that could pose another difficult challenge for Indonesia.
“The crisis won’t make things easier for Indonesians. They have to pay more to access the credit markets … and economic slowdown lessens demand for their exports,” he told an international conference titled “Building an Asia Pacific Community: Unity in Diversity”.
The global crisis, Hume said, would burden the people and government of Indonesia who were already struggling with many difficult challenges including increasing poverty and unemployment.
Hume offered three broad tips to face the challenges. The first one was faithful implementation of the rule of law, including the anti-corruption reform.
The second was to improve education, particularly the higher education sector, to create a better educated workforce and a larger middle class, so it could become a competitive, expanding market in the changing global economy.
The third tip concerned with the re-ordering of economic priorities to attract more foreign investment and take advantage of the increasingly connected 21st century economy, Hume added.
Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare, Aburizal Bakrie, who attended the conference, said it was necessity to devise appropriate responses to the global crisis.
“If (we) are not very careful (in coping with the crisis), a bigger crisis could take place,” he said.
The international conference was expected to formulate common responses for Asia-Pacific nations in dealing with the crisis.
The conference also discussed other important international issues, such as democracy and Islam, and global warming.
Some 500 participants attended the three-day conference which was jointly organized by the East-West Center, a U.S.-based education and research center, and its alumni association.
Established in 1960, the center aims to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the U.S. It has built a worldwide network of more than 55,000 alumni and 600 partner organizations.