Indonesian and Australian investment and trade agencies, and digital industries get closer

The signing of a MoU between the Indonesian Investment Authority and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta capped a busy week during which initiatives announced by Prime Minister Albanese in September 2023 and March 2024, to bring more Australian investment and trade to Southeast Asia to tap the "exponential growth" of the ASEAN region, were highlighted in Jakarta: the new Australian Embassy Jakarta Investment Deal Team, the first business delegation under the new Australia Southeast Asia Business Exchange program, and a digital sector Launching Pad.

A MoU to support Australian investment into Indonesia was signed by Dr Ridha Wirakusumah, CEO of INA, and Australia's Ambassador to Indonesia, Ms Penny Williams  and witnessed by Australia's Special Envoy for Southeast Asia, Mr Nicholas Moore, Business Champion, Prof Jennifer Westacott, and Members of the INA Executive Board / 27 June 2024

THE Indonesia Investment Authority (INA), Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Embassy in Jakarta to enhance collaboration and boost Australian investment in Indonesia.

Witnessed by Australia’s Special Envoy for Southeast Asia, Nicholas Moore, Australia’s "Business Champion for Indonesia", Jennifer Westacott, and INA Executive Board members, the MoU was signed by Ridha Wirakusumah, CEO of INA, and Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Penny Williams.

“This MoU represents a key advancement in attracting and fostering Australian investment in Indonesia. Through this collaboration, we can catalyse significant Australian investment in key sectors vital to Indonesia's growth and development, enhance our economic ties, and deliver substantial benefits for both our countries,” Mr Wirakusumah said.

According to Ambassador Williams, the relationship with INA builds on the Invested: Australia's Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 prepared by Special Envoy Nicholas Moore and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's policy announcement in 2023, which aims to increase Australian investment into Indonesia.

Special Envoy Nicholas Moore
“Southeast Asia’s fast-growing economies present a major opportunity for Australian business, but we haven’t kept pace with their exponential growth, Mr Albanese said at the time. "Our economic future lies with Southeast Asia. This strategy outlines how we can harness this growth, and seize the vast trade and investment opportunities our region presents". 

Of the 10 priority sectors identified by the Special Envoy as offering the most potential for growth, the Prime Minister committed to immediately support three initiatives "that go to the heart of the strategy and are an investment in Australia’s economic future":

Investment Deal Teams (A$70.2 million over four years) based in the ASEAN region who will work with Australian investors, Southeast Asian businesses and governments to identify and facilitate investment opportunities.

Southeast Asia Business Exchange (A$19.2 million over four years) to boost two-way trade and support Australian exporters to enter, compete and grow in the fast-growing markets of Southeast Asia. This will include a trade and investment campaign to promote opportunities in Southeast Asian markets to Australian business and consumers.

Placements and Internships Pilot Program for Young Professionals (A$6 million over four years) which will help to build enduring links between Australia and Southeast Asian businesses. 

"This strategy reinforces our intent and priorities to expand and diversify trade and investment between Australia and Southeast Asia," added Trade Minister Don Farrell, and "charts a pathway to help Australian exporters, investors, tourism businesses, higher education providers, and creative sectors."

Delegates 'landing' in Jakarta
The new Australian Embassy Jakarta Investment Deal Team, which " blends private sector, government, and financing services to support outward investment from Australia to Indonesia", will work with INA to identify assets and appropriate structuring, so that opportunities are investor-ready for Australian participants.

The Deal Team brings together experts from the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Export Finance Australia (EFA), and has access to the also newly announced A$2 billion Southeast Asia Investment Financing Facility, administered by EFA, and other trade and investment initiatives to facilitate and crowd-in Australian private sector investment across Southeast Asia.

In Australia, the Australia Indonesia Business Council’s Chair for Investment, Finance and Infrastructure, Peter McGregor agreed these initiatives represent concrete steps in implementing practical and workable arrangements within the framework established by the Nicholas Moore ‘Invested’ report.

“These deepening relationships and agreements to communicate and cooperate more closely should underpin meaningful growth in bilateral investment and trade opportunities between our two economies,” he said.

Accompanying visiting Australian technology companies, the inaugural delegation of the A-SEABX program to Indonesia, Austrade  launched its Jakarta Landing Pad, which will help Australian technology businesses expand into Indonesia as part of Indonesia's ongoing digital transformation.

Australia Southeast Asia Business Exchange program

The investment MoU signing coincided with the first visit to Indonesia of a trade delegation under the new Australia Southeast Asia Business Exchange program. A-SEABX aims to increase two-way trade between Australia and Southeast Asia as well as raising awareness of business opportunities and possible investments between Australian and Indonesian companies.

The inaugural delegation, Australian technology companies showcasing their capabilities across cybersecurity, fintech and agtech, participated in the launch of an Austrade 'Landing Pad' in Jakarta

“The Landing Pad program will help market ready Australian technology scale ups to develop an effective go-to market strategy and secure partnerships in Indonesian markets, contributing to Southeast Asia’s continued digital transformation,” said Daniel Boyer, Austrade Deputy CEO.

An MoU was also signed between Austrade and Asosiasi Fintech Indonesia (AFTECH) to establish closer institutional cooperation and support Australia’s first Landing Pad cohort to Indonesia.


- Geoffrey Gold, editor and curator, Indonesia Australia Report