Jokowi’s G20 presidency

Indonesia’s legacy will be determined by its ability to make concrete and substantial progress in the G20.


Old and new: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (left) greets President Joko (AFP/Alberto Pizzoli)

December 1, 2021

Jakarta – Today Indonesia officially takes over the Group of 20 presidency from Italy, and President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will be responsible for leading the policy direction of the club of the world’s 20 largest economies until next November, before handing over the leadership to India.

Indonesia is prepared to carry out the job thanks to its ample experience in chairing and hosting various meetings of multilateral organizations.

In his acceptance speech, Jokowi promised “inclusive, people-centered, environmentally friendly and sustainable growth” as Indonesia’s main commitment to its G20 leadership. Under Indonesia’s presidency, the club aims to serve as the engine in developing an ecosystem that drives collaboration and innovation.

The elite group comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, whose combined economy accounts for 90 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The latest warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the major global impacts of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and the associated global panic justify Indonesia’s choice of theme for its presidency “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”. No matter how rich and sophisticated a nation, it can never win the war on the deadly disease when there are countries that are left behind, including in vaccination programs.

The world is hoping Indonesia’s agenda will not end as a list of unfulfilled wishes. While it is not easy to convince the richer members of the G20 to allocate more vaccine aid, to create more inclusive and equal growth, and more just digital equity for developing and the least developed countries, we believe the government can act as a good and effective host and coordinator of various G20 forums.

For Indonesia, it is indeed an honor, but also a challenge to chair the G20. President Jokowi is evidently excited about his new role after showing little appetite for international diplomacy since taking office in 2014.

However, Indonesia cannot force its own agenda on other members, and therefore Jokowi’s leadership to create strong consensus among the leaders is key.

In their declaration after the October summit in Rome, the leaders committed to helping the WHO accelerate the global goal of vaccinating at least 40 percent of the entire population by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid-2022. The G20 will boost the supply of vaccines and other basic medical products for poorer nations.

Indonesia’s legacy will be determined by its ability to make concrete and substantial progress in the G20. Rather than trying to work on too many ambitious agendas, it will be better for the government to concentrate on the most pressing issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating economic and political impacts, and global warming.

We believe that Indonesia will not just prove to be a good host but also act as a useful and effective bridge between the rich and poor nations. Congratulations and good luck to the government.

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