Post #2: Indonesia’s Diversity of Language and Current Economic Conditions

Indonesia is a diverse country with a population of more than 250 million people. According to The Washington Post, there are officially 7,102 living languages in the world. Of those 7,102 living languages, 2,301 are spoken in Asia. Of those 2,301, over 700 different languages are spoken in Indonesia alone. As stated in The Washington Post, if you were to randomly select two people from Indonesia, there is an 82% chance they will speak a different language from one another. The majority of Indonesians are bilingual, and many are proficient in three or four different languages. This is because Indonesians grow up speaking a regional language in the home, and then are taught Bahasa Indonesian, the country’s official language, later on in school. Bahasa Indonesia is the formal language used throughout Indonesia business, education, and government. It is a modified version of the Malay language, and is the first language of more than 23 million people. However, over 140 million people identify Indonesian as their official second language. The most common regional languages spoken throughout Indonesia are Javanese and Sudanese. Javanese is spoken by over 75 million people in central and eastern Java, one of the many islands that make up Indonesia. Javanese is the 14th most widely spoken language in the world. Sudanese is spoken by over 39 million people, concentrated mostly in western Java.

Map of Indonesia (via Lonely Planet)

Indonesia officially became the 60th member of the United Nations General Assembly on September 28th, 1950. However, only 15 years later, former President Sukarno made the decision to withdraw from the UN due to their decision to elect Malaysia to a temporary position on the Security Council. Sukarno then created the Conference of the New Emerging Forces (CONEF) in an attempt to rival the United Nations in 1965. CONEF did not last long, as General Suharto dissolved the organization on August 11th, 1966 after gaining control of the Indonesia government earlier that year. Suharto then resumed full Indonesian cooperation with the United Nations on September 28th, 1966.

Former Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks before the UN in 2014 (via

Indonesia has been elected to a temporary position on the UN Security Council three separate times. This occurred in 1974, 1995, and 2007. According to The Jakarta Post, Indonesia has recently expressed desire to increased its involvement with various aspects of the United Nations. Indonesia’s ambassador to the UN, Dian Triansyah Djani, has stated the country specifically would like to participate in more UN peacekeeping missions. Eventually, Indonesia would like to take on a leadership role in the UN. The country also indicated it hopes to once again serve on the Security Council during the 2019-2020 term.

Indonesia is also a part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), officially becoming a member on April 15th, 1954. While Indonesia temporarily withdrew from the IMF, along with the UN, in 1965, it was soon reinstated in 1966. Indonesia has received assistance from the IMF in the past. The IMF aided Indonesia in 1997 after the East Asian financial crisis, and in 2004 after a tsunami devastated a large portion of the country. However, according to a 2016 study conducted by the IMF, Indonesia qualifies as “one of the best performing emerging market economies.” This is due in part to the 5% rise in Gross Domestic Product Indonesia experienced from 2015 to 2016. Indonesia still has room for economic improvement. The IMF specifically cites infrastructure as one of the country’s main issues. However, overall, the country has reasons to be optimistic about its economic future. Indonesia has also been a member of the World Trade Organization since 1995.

The GINI Coefficient is a statistic that measures a country’s economic inequality. A score of zero means the country has perfectly equal economic conditions, while a score of one means that country has perfectly unequal economic conditions. As of March 2016, Indonesia’s GINI coefficient was 0.397. That is a decline from 0.408 in 2015. That means that Indonesia was able to slightly narrow its wealth gap. Economists cite Indonesia’s rising middle class as the major reason for the decline.

Global distribution of the GINI Coefficient (via The Atlantic)


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