Indonesian President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, aims to secure Australia’s support for Indonesia’s electric vehicle (EV) ambitions during his visit to the country. This visit holds significance for Jokowi as he seeks to solidify his legacy before his term ends in a little over a year. Last month, he unveiled the National Long-Term Development Plan, which outlines Indonesia’s aspirations to become a high-income country while prioritizing social equality, human capital development, and environmental sustainability.
Jokowi’s vision is to position Indonesia as a respected global actor, committed to addressing global challenges and fostering innovation. The focus on EVs symbolizes this vision and is a key aspect of his trip to Australia, particularly in securing the necessary raw materials for battery production. However, the EV ambition goes beyond this.
Jokowi has prioritized infrastructure development, economic reform, healthcare, social welfare, digitalization, and sustainable growth during his tenure. The government’s “downstreaming” policy aims to maximize the potential of Indonesia’s abundant natural resources by shifting from raw material exports to processed and finished goods production. This strategy is expected to create jobs, promote innovation, and unlock greater economic value.
In the context of EVs, Jokowi’s administration seeks partnerships to leverage Indonesia’s advantage in nickel production, a crucial component in EV batteries. However, Indonesia lacks significant lithium resources, which Australia possesses abundantly. Jokowi has expressed Indonesia’s interest in obtaining lithium from Australia, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has shown a positive response, indicating the potential for collaboration in developing an EV ecosystem encompassing various aspects of production.
The collaboration between Indonesia and Australia on responsible and sustainable resource extraction can ensure a stable supply chain for EV production, attract investments, and create job opportunities. It leverages Australia’s advanced manufacturing expertise and Indonesia’s established automotive manufacturing industry.
Apart from EVs, there are broader opportunities for collaboration across sectors such as mining, energy, education, healthcare, e-commerce, and fintech. The visit highlights the potential for joint ventures, investments, and knowledge sharing. Establishing an EV ecosystem should be seen as the starting point for a deeper and more comprehensive partnership between Indonesia and Australia.