Jakarta governor Joko Widodo, widely known as “Jokowi,” was officially declared president of the island nation with over 53% of the vote last night. As part of his well-organized, social media-savvy campaign, the former furniture exporter and child of the slums has made some very specific promises about righting Indonesia’s economy, which has not have lived up to its potential in recent years.
Despite a youthful population and a middle class that is expected to double to about 130 million in the next six years, the country’s economy is fragile, analysts say. Indonesia struggles with high debt and over-dependence on foreign currency inflows. The country’s currency and stock markets were some of the worst-performing in the world last year.
With 247 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world after China, India, and the US. It is the most populous majority Muslim country (about 88% of the people are Muslim) and the world’s third-largest democracy, after India and the US.
Jokowi has vowed to ramp up Indonesia’s growth from its current rate of 5.2% to more than 7%. That would have a knock-on effect for China, Japan and Singapore, Indonesia’s largest trading partners, as well as boost multinational giants clamoring to do more business there.