About Indonesia...


 

 

 

Indonesia

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 17,508 islands. It encompasses 33 provinces and 1 Special Administrative Region (for being governed by a pre-colonial monarchy) with over 238 million people, making it the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia's republic form of government comprises an elected legislature and president. The nation's capital city is Jakarta. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and a member of the G-20 major economies. The Indonesian economy is the world's 16th largest by nominal GDP.

The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with China and India. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders brought the now-dominant Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolize trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism, Indonesia secured its independence after World War II. Indonesia's history has since been turbulent, with challenges posed by natural disasters, corruption, separatism, a democratization process, and periods of rapid economic change.

Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups. The largest – and politically dominant – ethnic group are the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a majority Muslim population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support the world's second highest level of biodiversity. The country has abundant natural resources, yet poverty remains widespread.

 

Culture

Indonesia has about 300 ethnic groups, each with cultural identities developed over centuries, and influenced by Indian, Arabic, Chinese, and European sources. Traditional Javanese and Balinese dances, for example, contain aspects of Hindu culture and mythology, as do wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performances. Textiles such as batik, ikat, ulos and songket are created across Indonesia in styles that vary by region. The most dominant influences on Indonesian architecture have traditionally been Indian; however, Chinese, Arab, and European architectural influences have been significant.

Sports in Indonesia are generally male-orientated and spectator sports are often associated with illegal gambling. The most popular sports are badminton and football. Indonesian players have won the Thomas Cup (the world team championship of men's badminton) thirteen of the twenty-six times that it has been held since 1949, as well as numerous Olympic medals since the sport gained full Olympic status in 1992. Its women have won the Uber Cup, the female equivalent of the Thomas Cup, twice, in 1994 and 1996. Liga Indonesia is the country's premier football club league. Traditional sports include sepak takraw, and bull racing in Madura. In areas with a history of tribal warfare, mock fighting contests are held, such as caci in Flores and pasola in Sumba. Pencak Silat is an Indonesian martial art. 

Indonesian cuisine varies by region and is based on Chinese, European, Middle Eastern, and Indian precedents. Rice is the main staple food and is served with side dishes of meat and vegetables. Spices (notably chili), coconut milk, fish and chicken are fundamental ingredients. Indonesian traditional music includes gamelan and keroncong. The Indonesian film industry's popularity peaked in the 1980s and dominated cinemas in Indonesia, although it declined significantly in the early 1990s. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of Indonesian films released each year has steadily increased. 

The oldest evidence of writing in Indonesia is a series of Sanskrit inscriptions dated to the 5th century. Important figures in modern Indonesian literature include: Dutch author Multatuli, who criticized treatment of the Indonesians under Dutch colonial rule; Sumatrans Muhammad Yamin and Hamka, who were influential pre-independence nationalist writers and politicians; and proletarian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia's most famous novelist. Many of Indonesia's peoples have strongly rooted oral traditions, which help to define and preserve their cultural identities.

Media freedom in Indonesia increased considerably after the end of President Suharto's rule, during which the now-defunct Ministry of Information monitored and controlled domestic media, and restricted foreign media. The TV market includes ten national commercial networks, and provincial networks that compete with public TVRI. Private radio stations carry their own news bulletins and foreign broadcasters supply programs. At a reported 25 million users in 2008, Internet usage was estimated at 12.5% in September 2009. More than 30 million cell phones are sold in Indonesia each year, and 27% of them are local brands.

 

Economy

Indonesia has a mixed economy in which both the private sector and government play significant roles. The country is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and a member of the G-20 major economies. Indonesia's estimated gross domestic product (nominal), as of 2012 was US$928.274 billion with estimated nominal per capita GDP was US$3,797, and per capita GDP PPP was US$4,943 (international dollars). June 2011: At World Economic Forum on East Asia, Indonesian president said Indonesia will be in the top ten countries with the strongest economy within the next decade. The gross domestic product (GDP) is about $1 trillion[3] and the debt ratio to the GDP is 26%.The industry sector is the economy's largest and accounts for 46.4% of GDP (2012), this is followed by services (38.6%) and agriculture (14.4%). However, since 2012, the service sector has employed more people than other sectors, accounting for 48.9% of the total labor force, this has been followed by agriculture (38.6%) and industry (22.2%).Agriculture, however, had been the country's largest employer for centuries.

According to World Trade Organization data, Indonesia was the 27th biggest exporting country in the world in 2010, moving up three places from a year before. Indonesia's main export markets (2009) are Japan (17.28%), Singapore (11.29%), the United States (10.81%), and China (7.62%). The major suppliers of imports to Indonesia are Singapore (24.96%), China (12.52%), and Japan (8.92%). In 2005, Indonesia ran a trade surplus with export revenues of US$83.64 billion and import expenditure of US$62.02 billion. The country has extensive natural resources, including crude oil, natural gas, tin, copper, and gold. Indonesia's major imports include machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, and foodstuffs. And the country's major export commodities include oil and gas, electrical appliances, plywood, rubber, and textiles.

The tourism sector contributes to around US$9 billion of foreign exchange in 2012, and ranked as the 4th largest among goods and services export sectors. Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China and Japan are the top five source of visitors to Indonesia.

The tourism sector contributes to around US$9 billion of foreign exchange in 2012, and ranked as the 4th largest among goods and services export sectors. Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China and Japan are the top five source of visitors to Indonesia.

In the 1960s the economy deteriorated drastically as a result of political instability, a young and inexperienced government, and economic nationalism, which resulted in severe poverty and hunger. By the time of Sukarno's downfall in the mid-1960s, the economy was in chaos with 1,000% annual inflation, shrinking export revenues, crumbling infrastructure, factories operating at minimal capacity, and negligible investment. Following President Sukarno's downfall in the mid-1960s, the New Order administration brought a degree of discipline to economic policy that quickly brought inflation down, stabilized the currency, rescheduled foreign debt, and attracted foreign aid and investment. (See Berkeley Mafia). Indonesia was until recently Southeast Asia's only member of OPEC, and the 1970s oil price raises provided an export revenue windfall that contributed to sustained high economic growth rates, averaging over 7% from 1968 to 1981. Following further reforms in the late 1980s, foreign investment flowed into Indonesia, particularly into the rapidly developing export-oriented manufacturing sector, and from 1989 to 1997, the Indonesian economy grew by an average of over 7%. 

Indonesia was the country hardest hit by the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98. During the crisis there were sudden and large capital outflows leading the rupiah to go into free fall. Against the US dollar the rupiah dropped from about Rp 2,600 in late 1997 to a low point of around Rp 17,000 some months later and the economy shrank by a remarkable 13.7%. These developments led to widespread economic distress across the economy and contributed to the political crisis of 1998 which saw Suharto resign as president. The rupiah later stabilised in the Rp. 8,000–10,000 rangeand a slow but steady economic recovery ensued. However political instability, slow economic reform, and corruption slowed the recovery. Transparency International, for example, has since ranked Indonesia below 100 in its Corruption Perceptions Index. Since 2007, however, with the improvement in banking sector and domestic consumption, national economic growth has accelerated to over 6% annually and this helped the country weather the 2008–2009 global recession. The Indonesian economy performed strongly during the Global Financial Crisis and in 2012 its GDP grew by over 6%.The country regained its investment grade rating in late 2011 after losing it in the 1997. However, as of 2012, an estimated 11.7% of the population lived below the poverty line and the official open unemployment rate was 6.1%.

 

Capital: Jakarta

Calling code: +62

Currency: Rupiah (Rp) (IDR)

Population: 237,424,363

Area: 1,904,569 km2

Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic

President: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Official language: Indonesian

Time zone: various (UTC+7 to +9)

 

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