JAKARTA, June 23, 2014 - Indonesia’s economy has grown confidently, helping to lower the poverty rate. The country has succeeded in halving the poverty rate from 24 to 12 percent between 1999 and 2012. However, 65 million people still live between the national poverty line of $1.25 a day and the global poverty line of around $2 a day.
Rasma, a fruit ice seller in the country’s capital, is among those who have not really felt the benefits of Indonesia’s progress.
“I see that Jakarta has moved up, but not me,” says Rasma. For him, his wife, and their three children, when the rainy season comes, they easily fall into poverty.
“People don't buy fruit ice when it rains. So I have to borrow money from relatives or neighbors to support my family. As long as my family can eat. Once I have some extra money, I pay them back,” he says.
Strengthening social protection can help ensure that prosperity is shared more widely. However, building Indonesia’s social security system has begun and results will greatly depend on how well these reforms are implemented.
Providing better jobs is one way out of poverty, but these better jobs are scarce and many turn to whatever jobs they can get.
“After being unemployed for six months, I chose to take a job as an advertising administrative assistant because that was the only opportunity and looking for other jobs was hard,” said Elfa Mandiri, who holds a degree in international relations.