Jakarta. Indonesia can learn a lot from China when it comes to developing national infrastructure, President Joko Widodo says.
"China has made a quantum leap," Joko said on Tuesday, just days after returning from a series of foreign visits, including attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing. "It used to be a closed country but once it opened up it made a remarkable leap, the development is tremendous."
While in China Joko said he had visited Tianjin — one of the economic giant's largest port cities — where he witnessed how "visionary" local government had set up long-term development.
"They did not think [ahead] just for the the next 20 years, but they planned everything for the next 100 years," Joko said. "They might have different styles — it is not a problem — all that matters is it's done ..." Joko said.
China has experienced rapid growth since it started market reforms in 1978 and opened the country to foreign investment, lifting millions of people out of poverty in the process. GDP growth has been on average about 10 percent per annum for the past 34 years, according to the World Bank.
Joko praised China for not being afraid of foreign investment, saying it helped improve connectivity between regions.
"It's doesn't matter where the money or investment comes from, we must connect the cities, provinces and islands because this is what will generate the people's economic development," he said.
He said China understood that opening the doors to foreign investment did not mean foreigners would then "take over" vital infrastructure and resources.
Joko plans to invest heavily in the maritime sector in order to turn Indonesia into a global "maritime axis" and improve connectivity across the vast archipelago. He has already announced plans to build 24 ports across Indonesia that would accommodate mid-sized ferries and connect Indonesia’s major islands. There are also plans to add seven sea ports for international cargo ships.