Indonesia has expressed its wish to integrate its maritime axis program with shipping lines within the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) area, as part of efforts to boost economic cooperation between the association’s countries.
“Indonesia wants to link its maritime axis program with IORA member countries,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said in a speech during the IORA Business Summit in Jakarta on Monday, attended by delegates from 21 member countries and business representatives.
The Indian Ocean would be the future of the world economy, Jokowi added, as half of all the world’s container ships pass through the ocean, while two-thirds of energy commodities are transported through the region and 2.7 billion people live around the rim.
“The Indian Ocean is the ocean of the future; the future of the world’s economy lies in the region,” he said.
The President also stressed the need for governments of IORA countries to support the development of export-oriented small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help create jobs and improve people’s welfare.
In his speech, Jokowi also shared experiences from his time as the former CEO of an SME in the timber and furniture business, before he entered politics.
“Despite the small scale of the business, I dared to use French design, Korean systems and German machinery. I got many insights from foreign embassies and consulates so I knew how to export my products. It was approximately 30 years ago,” he said.
IORA members comprise South Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoro, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, the Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Yemen.
The seven dialogue partners are China, France, Japan, the United States, Egypt, Germany and the United Kingdom.