Jakarta, November 8, 2013 – The World Bank has appointed Rodrigo Chaves, an economist with over 20 years of experience working in development and public policy in more than 30 countries, as the new Country Director for Indonesia.
“Over the past decade, the world has seen Indonesia emerge as a dynamic middle-income country, thanks to its strong macro-economic fundamentals and prudent fiscal management. The World Bank is confident that Indonesia will overcome the current pressures affecting the rupiah and will remain resilient against external volatility. More importantly, this great nation has all that is required to bring great prosperity to its people,” says Dr. Chaves, who earned his doctorate in economics from the Ohio State University.
Prior to joining the Indonesian country office, Dr. Chaves served as the Director of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management for Latin America and the Caribbean, where development challenges are similar to those faced by Indonesia. These include addressing growing inequity and the needs of the poor and also the vulnerable, as well as broadening access to education, health care, drinking water and other basic services. While Indonesia’s poverty rate has declined considerably, to 11.8 percent in 2013, some 40 percent of the population – or 100 million people – remain vulnerable to falling into poverty.
While still resilient, economic growth in Indonesia is moderating, reflecting a dip in investment, in commodity prices, as well as in domestic consumption. Indonesia’s current account deficit also continues to widen, with imports increasing at a faster pace than exports. But recent policy shifts, such as the reduction in fuel subsidies, are positive developments that will help Indonesia bounce back.
“Indonesia’s economy is adjusting to short term uncertainty. But the country’s growth prospects are undisputed, particularly if long-term development plans and public policies boost investment on the expansion of labor skills and of infrastructure. And after six decades of productive partnership, the World Bank feels privileged to continue supporting Indonesia’s ambitions to become one of the world’s most prosperous nations,” says Dr. Chaves.
Dr. Chaves leads a program in Indonesia that includes a portfolio of 37 active operations, with USD $8 billion of net commitments in lending as of August 2013, with programs ranging from support of community-driven development, to geothermal energy expansion, and early childhood education services.