Indonesia: A Strategic Business Partner for Ireland

Executive Summary Business Round Table


In partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia based in London and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Asia Matters held a Strategic Business Round Table on Indonesia Ireland Business Partnership Potential.


Indonesia, the economic giant of ASEAN with annual GDP growth of 5 %+ and a population of 260 million, is a key strategic partner for Europe. The country’s emphasis on industrialisation and infrastructure development is laying the foundations for continued economic growth. The Irish embassy in Jakarta opened in 2014 with significant opportunity now to grow bilateral trade in agri, animation, financial services, higher education, energy, maritime & tech.

L-R Dr Orla Flynn, Vice President External Affairs CIT, HE Dr. Rizal Sukma, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Kingdom & Ireland, Martin Murray, CEO Asia Matters & Honorary Consul of the Republic of Indonesia in Ireland, Fitria Irmi Triswati, Deputy Chief Representative EuropeBank Indonesia, Ujuan Marihot,General Manager, Bank Negara Indonesia, London

Welcoming the Ambassador, Dr Barry O’Connor, President CIT highlighted the key role played by CIT in delivering a pipeline of graduates and post graduates equipped for the jobs of tomorrow with particular strength in Engineering, Art, AI & machine learning. He also expressed his wish to welcome many more Indonesian students to CIT in the future.

Pictured above with Dr Barry O’Connor, HE Dr Rizal Sukma, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Kingdom & Ireland, thanked CIT for hosting and Martin Murray, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Indonesia in Ireland and CEO Asia Matters for organising this high value Round Table.

Introducing his team to participants,the Ambassador outlined the current bilateral trade between Indonesia and Ireland (240 million euro) and welcomed more investment from Ireland as the Indonesian economy continues to grow (forecast to overtake Germany & Great Britain by 2030). The middle class is forecast to reach 86 million by 2030, dramatically increasing the need for quality goods and services from world class Irish enterprises. The Ambassador positively commented on Indonesia’s economy,which has been transformed by FDI with business permits now being issued in 36 hours. He highlighted anew visa programme which enables Irish citizens to visit Indonesia for 60 days visa free.Looking to the future,the Ambassador stated that Indonesia sees:

“Ireland as the Key Partner in the EU as the only English speaking member”

Future Areas of Opportunity for enhanced partnership between Ireland and Indonesia:

•Renewable Energy including Geo Thermal, Hydro & Wind

•Infrastructure including Roads & Ports

•HR Development


•Agri Food & Food Sciences

•Education –there are currently 5,000 government funded scholarships -this will rise to 10,000.Ambassador Rizal expressed his wish that more Indonesian students will in the future come to Cork and to CIT

Opening the first panel discussion, Martin Murray,Honorary Consul of the Republic of Indonesia in Ireland and CEO Asia Matters,described Indonesia asa hidden treasure. Reflecting that Asia Matters was established to accelerate the relationship between Asia and Ireland, Martin stated:

“with Indonesia’s growing economic strength,it is appropriate now to focus on driving engagement and strengthening the Indonesia Ireland relationship.”

Featuring Fitria Irmi Triswati, Deputy Chief Representative Europe Bank Indonesia,Ujuan Marihot, General Manager, Bank Negara Indonesia London and Stephen Buttimer, Head of Global Operations Fexco,the first panel focused on opportunities in Financial Services and Fintech.

Key Conclusions Financial Services & Fintech

•Fintech in Indonesia will be worth 130 billion USD by 2020

•2/3 of Indonesians don’t have a bank account

•130 million Indonesians are bankable and open to banking through Fintech & Apps

•Indonesia is in the top 5 of Asian economies for increased investment•AI & Tech is transforming banking in Indonesia

•There are 130 million internet users in Indonesia, only 2% of internet usage is for eBanking

•Significantopportunies in: Payments, Lending, eCommerce

•Fexco’s journey highlighted trust and partnership as two key drivers of success


The second panel on Tech, Talent & Trade, chaired by Dr.Orla Flynn, Vice President for External Affairs, CIT opened with a presentation by Cathal Gaffney, MD Brown Bag Films on working with Indonesian talent and the recent acquisition of BASE studios in Bali. Speaking of this, Cathal Gaffney described Indonesia as “a great country to business in”. He highlighted the proactive nature of government, setting up a training facility to ensure a strong talent pipeline and enabling Brown Bag Films to scale the business in Asia from Indonesia. In addition to globalbest in class talent, the key driver of the successful Irish Indonesian partnership lies in shared values and a good cultural fit.

Vitto Tahar, Head of Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Aditia Prasta, Head of Indonesian Investment Promotion Centre London and Nur Rahman Setyoko, Trade Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia then led the discussion on Tech, Talent & Trade.(Pictured L-R above with Cathal Gaffney, MD Brown Bag Films)

Key Conclusions Tech, Talent & Trade:

•Thereis a natural cultural synergy between Indonesia & Ireland which facilitates ease of doing business

•Talent is a key driver of trade and supporter of economic growth

•There are skills shortages in Indonesia,which Ireland can help with, particularly in areas such as Infrastructure –with 134 airports being built in Indonesia,there is a need for skilled foreign engineers

•Maritime is also a key area –with 80 ports being built,there is a require mentfor increased partnership & skilled labor.