Day 7: March 4, 2015

We kicked off our seventh day on the Hot Cities of the World Tour, and third day in Jakarta by visiting Old Town Jakarta. Our first stop was at the Istiglal Mosque, where we participated in a guided tour of the facility and learned about the Muslim worship traditions. The Mosque was light-filled and breezy with marble floors and pillars, and also contained carpeted areas for prayer. Classes were being held for women and children and we had a chance to briefly meet some of the locals. After our guided tour, we visited the Old Town market where vendors sold tapestries, cloth, garments, shoes, and other traditional Indonesian products. The people were friendly and the streets were bustling.

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Our visit to the market was followed by our first meeting of the day with Roberto Feliciano, the CEO of Lippo. The company defines itself as the largest private services group in Indonesia, as well as one of the top 5 business groups in Indonesia and prides itself for being the most international. Mr. Feliciano explained that the company’s motto is “growing in stewardship, transforming lives,” which guides them in their daily activities, reminding them that they are working for the greater good. Lippo designs and builds well-planned developments that evade traffic, possess world-class infrastructure and impact lives. Through its different business segments, and the development of hospitals, hotels, town management, retail estate investment trusts, and property management, the company creates value for its stakeholders in the middle to upper classes of Indonesia. Following our meeting with the CEO of Lippo, we had the chance to speak with the Deputy Country Director and the Senior Country Specialist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB.) We learned about their various development challenges including regulatory uncertainty and red tape, a large informal sector that employs almost 2/3 of the population, insufficient economic competitiveness, the risk associated with environmental sustainability that is threatening long-term growth sustainability, and climate change. Finally, we explored the company’s different core operational areas. These include Infrastructure, Regional Cooperation, Financial Sector Development, Environment, which has an emphasis on the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and Education, which has an emphasis on secondary and post-secondary training.

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After our meeting with ADB and we piled into our big blue bus once again to head to our final meeting of the day with Norton Rose Fulbright Indonesia. Unlike our other meetings, this one was with a law firm, which provided another perspective into doing business in Indonesia. The meeting was particularly exciting for the lawyer and law student on the trip. At Norton Rose we spoke, in particular, about corruption in the country and how multinational companies navigate the accompanying challenges. Overall the partners were optimistic and seemed confident the situation in Indonesia was improving and reinforced what we’ve been hearing since we arrived—Indonesia is a key emerging economy and there is reason to be excited about its future!

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