JOURNAL | COVER STORY by: Rajiv Biswas

When Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono became president in 2004, Indonesia was still a low-income, developing country. Indonesian gross domestic product per person was just $1,200, still stagnating at a similar level to 1995. Yudhoyono had inherited a legacy of economic stagnation during the decade from 1995 to 2004. Indeed, GDP per person had fallen sharply during the Asian economic crisis of 1997-98, with Indonesia in political and economic turmoil.

However, in the decade Yudhoyono held office, between 2004 and 2014, GDP per head in Indonesia almost tripled, rising from $1,250 in 2004 to around $3,500 in 2014, reflecting the remarkable economic transformation that took place under his leadership. During his presidency, the nation moved into the ranks of the lower middle-income developing countries. During this period, Indonesia’s total annual GDP also tripled, increasing from $280 billion in 2004 to $890 billion in 2014.

Under the current president, Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s GDP has risen further, to an estimated $970 billion for this year. By 2018, Indonesia is expected to join the elite ranks of the world’s nations whose GDP exceeds $1 trillion. In the Asia-Pacific region, only China, Japan, India, Australia and South Korea are currently in this grouping.

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