Joko Widodo’s recent trip to four African countries marked the first ever by an Indonesian head of state. The President’s five-day visit took him to Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, before finishing in South Africa where he attended the meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group of nations in Johannesburg. In his address to the BRICS conference Jokowi evoked the ‘spirit of Bandung’ in reference to the Asia-Africa conference held in the West Java capital in 1955 and called for solidarity and cooperation between the nations of the Global South. But Indonesia stopped short of accepting an invitation to join the expanding group, which is seen as a potential challenge or alternative to Western hegemony in a changing new world order.
So, what motivated such a high-level trip to Africa? Why did Jokowi choose to make such an historic visit at this stage in his presidency? What is the current state of Indonesia-Africa relations and what might Indonesia’s ambitions be for its future in the continent?
In this week’s episode Jemma Purdey chats with Dr Christophe Dorigné-Thomson who holds a PhD in Politics from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Universitas Indonesia, and a Master in Business/Management (Grande Ecole Programme) with a major in Finance from ESSEC Business School. His research focuses on foreign policy (Indonesia, Asia-Africa, and European nations notably); political economy; external powers’ engagement with Africa, Asia, and Europe, including political, economic, and defense and security approaches; and Indonesian, Asia-Africa, and Western politics. His forthcoming book, Indonesia’s Engagement with Africa, will be published in 2023 by Palgrave Macmillan.
In 2023, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Tito Ambyo from RMIT, Dr Elisabeth Kramer from the University of New South Wales and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.