Indonesia to strengthen economic co-operation with African countries

The government will strengthen economic co-operation with African countries, with the aim of exporting more food commodities for Indonesian food factories in that continent.

The Foreign Ministry's Salman Al Farisi said African countries were now a major prospective market for Indonesia in terms of food commodities, since their large populations were looking for affordable food products.

"Families in African countries spend 70 per cent of their income on food on average. Thus [increasing exports] is important for us to do," Salman told on Monday.

Eyeing the potential market, Indonesian consumer goods giant PT Indofood Sukses Makmur had opened instant noodle factories in Morocco and Kenya, following the first factory in Nigeria that had shown a significant success, Salman said.

The expansion meant Indonesia would increase its exports of raw food commodities to supply the factories, since African people's daily consumption of Indonesian instant noodles was twice of that of Indonesian themselves, Salman said.

According to Salman, Indonesia's exports to African countries surpassed US$10 billion (S$14.3 billion) per year, with 2010 to 2014's exports, particularly to Nigeria and South Africa, jumping by more than 10 per cent each year.

Furthermore, during the economic slowdown in 2015 when the trend of global trade slackened, trade with African countries actually increased, thus showing that Indonesia should intensely keep an eye on the African market, Salman said.

"We will further boost our potential by strengthening our exports to African countries," Salman added.

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