ANU graduate and leading economist, Dr Chatib Basri has been appointed to the Indonesian cabinet as Finance Minister.
Basri, who holds both a Masters of Economic Development and PhD from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, is considered a rising star in Indonesia’s world of finance. He received an Australia Award Scholarship from the Australian Government, supporting his return to ANU to complete a PhD in economics in 2001.
The 47-year-old economist, was the brains behind the nation’s recent strong investment growth. With Basri as Investment Chief, Indonesia saw 313 trillion rupiah (US$ 31.93 billion) in total investments in 2012, surpassing its annual target of 283 trillion rupiah.
Basri has built a strong and diverse career across academia, business and politics. He co-founded CReco Research Institute, a Jakarta based economic consulting firm in 2010 and holds positions at the University of Indonesia and ANU. He is the author of a number of papers in international journals and actively writes for various leading newspapers and magazines in Indonesia.
In his new role, Basri faces investor concerns over slowing economic growth, and sizeable current and capital deficits.
College Dean Professor Andrew MacIntyre commended Basri’s appointment and commitment to ANU, which has continued well after his graduation.
“Along with being an outstanding student, Basri has been a wonderful partner with the Crawford School of Public Policy’s Indonesia Project and a frequent participant in its signature annual conference, the Indonesia Update. Basri is also a current adjunct fellow of our College,” Professor MacIntyre said.
Basri’s appointment to the cabinet by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono brings a stronger Australian flavour to the cabinet with two fellow ANU alumni already serving.
College graduate Dr Marty Natalegawa, who graduated in 1994 with a PhD in international relations, is the Indonesian Foreign Minister. Business and Economics graduate Dr Mari Pangestu is the Minister of Trade and Creative Economy.
“The heightened prominence of ANU alumni in the Indonesian Cabinet is a superb illustration of the role Australia in general, and ANU in particular, plays in offering excellent advanced training opportunities to bright young Indonesians. This fact does not go unnoticed by Indonesia’s political elite,” Professor MacIntyre said.
Natalegawa was appointed as Indonesia’s Foreign Minister in 2009 after serving as Indonesia’s permanent representative at the United Nations. Natalegawa earned a Bachelor of Science at the London School of Economics in 1984, a Master of Philosophy at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge in 1985 and a Doctorate of Philosophy at ANU in 1993.
Professor MacIntyre recently interviewed Dr Natalegawa about his time at ANU and his role in Indonesia’s government.
Pangestu was appointed to the newly-created position of Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy in 2011 after serving as Trade Minister from 2004. As Trade Minister, she played a central role in deepening bilateral trade and investment between Australia and Indonesia. Pangestu was the first female Chinese Indonesian to hold a cabinet position in Indonesia.
Pangestu graduated from ANU with a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) in 1979 and a Master of Economics in 1981. In 2012, Pangestu received the Distinguished Alumni Award as part of the annual Australian Alumni Awards, which recognise alumni from Australian universities in Indonesia.
Article by Georgie Nielsen and Stacey Post, ANU media