Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi met her Gambian counterpart Mamadou Tangara and Guinean Transportation Minister Felix Lamah on two separate occasions in Jakarta on Tuesday, during which time she reaffirmed numerous bilateral agreements between Indonesia and the two African countries.
These agreements, primarily revolving around multilateral trade and intents to cooperate in the field of transportation, were a reflection of Indonesia’s eagerness to “become a part of a success story of Africa’s economic development”, said Retno.
Despite Africa being a nontraditional partner of Indonesia, Jakarta had paid special attention to Africa, a bond rooted in the historical Asian-African or the Bandung Conference in 1955 that established the two continents’ shared solidarity against colonialism. Since early 2000s, Indonesia had amped up its African cooperation by multiplying their trade value fivefold to US$11.7 billion, as Retno previously wrote in 2017 that “some of the largest contributors to the annual Trade Expo Indonesia hail from Africa”.
In the meeting with Tangara, Retno welcomed Gambia’s role as the host of the upcoming Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit this year.
“Indonesia supports Gambia’s efforts to deliver beneficial cooperation for all the OIC countries, which included the fulfillment of the education rights of the Afghan women as well as works to fortify [the countries’] capacity in agriculture,” Retno said in a press release on Tuesday. The statement also said that Indonesia has affirmed its intention to renovate the Agricultural Rural Farmers Training Centre (ARFTC) in Gambia, which Jakarta built in 1996.
The Tuesday meeting also paid special attention to the follow-up of the initiatives suggested at the Indonesia-Africa Forum 2018 and the Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialogue 2019.
Additionally, Gambia conveyed its readiness to progress the Preferential Trade Agreement between Indonesia and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a cooperation pact that had been in the pipeline since 2017.
With Guinea’s minister Lamah, Retno welcomed the plans for the signing of the Letter of Intent (LoI) in transportation, which will take place on Thursday.
Future cooperation will likely see efforts in the aviation sector, specifically the establishment of Guinea Air, which will involve pilot training, mechanic training and aircraft maintenance. A number of state-owned enterprises, including aircraft-maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia and electric motorcycle-maker PT Wika Industri Manufaktur had been intended to take part in possible cooperation related to transportation.
“We will actualize these agreements, specifically in the fields of aviation, maritime and land [train] transportation, both on the government-to-government and the business-to-business level,” Retno affirmed.