Sweden Explores Green Projects in Indonesia
"Indonesia and Sweden share the same views on the concept of Green Growth"
VIVAnews - "The growth of the Indonesian economy is impressive. That is why I appreciate this opportunity to visit this country," Swedish Minister of Trade, Ewa Bjorling, spoke before dozens of guests at Ambassador Ewa Polano's residence in Jakarta a few days ago.
According to the Swedish Embassy in Jakarta, Björling on 6-8 February was heading a delegation of more than 25 Swedish Companies as well as several Governmental National Agencies in energy, cleantech, telecom, transport and financing sectors. "This is the largest ever Swedish business delegation coming to Indonesia," Bjorling said.
Speaking to VIVAnews, Monday evening 7 February 2011, the minister explained that there are many bilateral partnerships should be explored by Sweden and Indonesia. One of them is eco-friendly development model of Green Growth.
Rich in natural resources, forests and agriculture, Indonesia has a unique possibility to grow in a green manner. "A number of companies from our country have the knowledge and the technology and they are ready to share their capabilities," Bjorling said.
Here are the excerpts of the interview
Leading a group of Swedish business delegates, you are visiting Indonesia to explore joint projects of Green Growth model. What exactly is the concept of Green Growth model?
Indonesia and Sweden share the same views on the concept of Green Growth because the model intends to implement economic development without damaging the environment. Sweden has implemented this model over the past thirty years.
In this Green Growth concept, we would like to reduce carbon emissions while at the same time keeping up the pro-growth economic development. Indonesia had some pretty impressive economic growth, by 6.1 percent in 2010 and that happened not long after the financial crisis a few years ago.
I see the Indonesian government has responded positively to implement the concept of green growth. On a visit to Bali in December 2010, I met with Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Pangestu. We talked about trade issues and the liberalization of environmental friendly products and technologies, and how to overcome the problem of taxes and trade barriers.
Indonesia's interest on green growth model has drawn attention from Sweden as well as the European Union.
How effective is Green Growth model for countries like Indonesia in anticipating the impacts of climate change?
This model I think will be effective for Indonesia. This country sets an ambitious target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent in 2020. In fact, if given enough financial support, the rate can be maximized up to 40 percent.
In Sweden, the application of green growth model is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent. The key is that we must make choices easier for consumers to adopt environmental- friendly lifestyle. It certainly cannot be done overnight and it needs patience and efficient actions from the government.
Another important factor is if you want to build a new city, the concept should be environmental-friendly, ranging from building design, sanitation system, water supply, and waste management that can be processed into energy sources and others. And it has become the principle for the Swedish government.
What should be done by the Indonesian Government to implement Green Growth model?
I learned that Indonesia has a strategic plan to implement the green growth concept in 50 cities. This is a very good ambition. Swedish companies can participate in supporting this plan. A number of companies from our country have the knowledge and technology and they are ready to share their capabilities.
Sweden has just opened its trade council office in Jakarta. How do you assess the current investment climate in Indonesia?
The establishment of this office is a strong signal that Indonesia has become an attractive place for Swedish companies to do business in this country. Yet we should keep in mind that Indonesia needs to overcome some existing problems.
In fact, we still have some problems in Indonesia. Corruption remains a problem, as well as the implementation of economic reforms, law enforcement and bureaucratic problems. In addition, Indonesia also needs to improve infrastructure and the government should ease the procedure of building permits.
However, we remain optimistic that the Indonesian government is working at its best to make some improvements. This is important not only for Swedish companies, but also for other foreign investors.
Do you see a rising trend in the number of Swedish investments and businesses in Indonesia?
Yes. Today there are 70 Swedish companies already doing business in Indonesia. In this visit I also bring representatives from 25 companies in Sweden, most of them are new and they are exploring opportunities to do business in Indonesia.
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