Indonesian GDP growth is expected to remain robust at 6.5% in 2012. Exports, particularly from the manufacturing sector have surged. Increases in both foreign and domestic investment are supporting this strong growth. The country’s overall balance of payments is expected to remain in surplus, as capital inflows reflect greater FDI. Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands, about 6,000 of which are inhabited. These are scattered over both sides of the equator. The largest are Java, Sumatra and Borneo, shared with Brunei and Malaysia, New Guinea, shared with Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi. The capital, Jakarta, is on Java and is the nation’s largest city, followed by Surabaya, Bandung, Medan and Semarang.
Indonesia is the most populated of ASEAN’s ten nations and is the world’s 16th largest country in terms of land area, with Java being the world’s most populous island. At 4,884 metres, Puncak Java in Papua is Indonesia’s highest peak and Lake Toba in Sumatra its largest lake, with an area of 1,145 square kilometres. The country’s largest rivers are in Kalimantan and include the Mahakan and Barito.
Indonesia has at least 150 active volcanoes, including Krakatoa and Tambora. Volcanic ash is a major contributor to the vast agricultural fertility that has historically sustained the high population densities of Java and Bali.
Although the main tourist attraction is Bali, many of the country’s best beaches are located on the less known Toglan Islands off the coast of central Sulawesi, Karimunjawa in the Java Sea and the Banda Islands in Maluku Province. Other popular tourist attractions include the temples of Borobudor, the tropical rainforest of Sumatra, the mountainous Lorenze National Park in Papua and West Nusa, home to the Komodo Dragon. Indonesia’s eastern most province of Papua contains 1,500 islands and west of Papua lies the Maluku archipelago, once known as the Spice Islands. Indonesia is perhaps the most culturally diverse of the ASEAN states. There are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia. Due to this diverse nature, there is a strong pull towards each person’s ethnic group or place of birth or family. The national motto is “Unity in Diversity”. Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and a member of the G-20 major economies.
Joined ASEAN: 8 August 1967 (Founder Member)
Head of State: President Joko Widodo
Area: 1,904.569 square kilometres
Border countries: Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea
Coastline: 54,716 kilometres
Capital city: Jakarta
Total population: 248,216,191
Population of capital: 9,121,000
Climate: Tropical, hot and humid. More moderate in the highlands
Languages: Bahasa Indonesia, English, Dutch, local dialects (of which most widely spoken is Javanese)
Religions: Muslim 86.1%, Protestant 5.7%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 1.8%, other 3.4%