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Looking at Indonesia’s G20 Agenda

Article by Dr Ahmad Rizky M. Umar

September 4, 2023

Looking at Indonesia’s G20 Agenda

There are three broad issues that Indonesia will be pursuing at the G20 Summit this year, which primarily relate to their economic and development agenda.


Indonesia’s first agenda priority will be the further implementation and realisation of the 2022 G20 Summit commitments. Indonesia successfully chaired the G20 last year, which produced the ‘G20 Action for Strong and Inclusive Recovery’ and the historic ‘Bali G20 Declaration’.[1] There are three key issues that Indonesia pushed last year, including digital transformation, sustainable energy transition, and global health architecture. These issues are related to Indonesia’s current foreign policy priority to support post-pandemic economic recovery and, more specifically, Indonesia’s focus on its national economic transformation, particularly when it comes to the digitalisation of its financial sector and energy security.


Related to this agenda priority, Indonesia is also currently seeking broader economic diplomacy with other major economies. Indonesia aims to find foreign financing for its ambitious infrastructure projects, including the development of high-speed railways, and industrialisation initiatives in its outer provinces. Indonesia also seeks to fund the relocation of the country’s capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan, which requires massive investment. For these purposes, Indonesia bilaterally engages with other G20 members and wishes to connect the G20’s economic recovery agenda with its own to bring more economic benefits domestically.


Finally, Indonesia will use the G20 to support its chairmanship of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).[2] As the current chair, Indonesia envisions ASEAN as an epicentrum of growth. This vision emphasises, heavily, economic recovery as the central agenda for regional cooperation in the future. Nevertheless, as ASEAN chair, Indonesia also faces some regional challenges regarding the conflict in Myanmar and the threat of a great power competition between the US and China. Indonesia will bring these issues to the Summit in an attempt to gain support from other G20 members – especially fellow ASEAN dialogue partners – to discuss possible solutions for the ongoing Myanmar crisis, mediate regional competition between the US and China (both of which are G20 leading members), and highlight its economic goals to bring more investment and boost development in ASEAN countries.


Rethinking the UK’s Engagement with Asia

These agenda priorities show a diverging vision to that of the UK in this year’s Summit.[3] For example, Indonesia’s three-fold economic plans for the G20 – digital transformation, sustainable energy transition, and global health architecture – do not neatly fit with the UK’s five-point action plan for G20, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak outlined at last year’s Summit. Indonesia also diverges with the UK on security issues, particularly with regard to Indonesia’s criticism of the AUKUS cooperation.[4] In addition, it is also unclear how and to what extent the UK shares a commitment to help Indonesia’s development projects, given UK’s current domestic economic priorities, such as ending dependence on Russian energy and mitigating the cost of living crisis.


Nevertheless, there are opportunities for the UK to use the G20 to improve bilateral relations with Indonesia, as well as support Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN. The UK formally became ASEAN’s dialogue partner in 2021 and it has improved economic relations with this regional organisation since. In this sense, the UK Government could utilise the G20 Summit as an opportunity to explore their shared interests with Indonesia, particularly in economic cooperation. The UK Government also needs to clarify the UK’s position in the Indo-Pacific region in a way that respects ASEAN, which has been outlined by the UK Government in its Defence Integrated Review.


Dr Ahmad Rizky M. Umar is a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Queensland and Griffith University. He is an expert on Indonesia’s Foreign Policy and Asian Regionalism.


[1] G7 & G20 Document Database, Annex – G20 Action for Strong and Inclusive Recovery, November 2022,; The White House, G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration, November 2022,

[2] ASEAN, see:

[3] The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak, “My five-point economic action plan for the G20”, November 2022.

[4] The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak, “My five-point economic action plan for the G20”, November 2022.; Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Policy paper: Implementation of the Australia – United Kingdom – Unites States Partnership (AUKUS): Fact Sheet,, April 2022,

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