This fascinating country is made up of 17,000 islands populated by 300 ethnic groups speaking more than 800 languages. This amazing diversity needs to be understood if outsiders are to grasp the realities of the place. In addition, its history – in particular the introduction of Islam in the 12th century - underlies one of the country’s big challenges: the influence of Islam and the potential danger that ultraconservative muslim groups will succeed in turning Indonesia into an Islamic state with sharia law (190 million Indonesians are muslim).
It still has a long way to go post-Suharto to fight the problem of corruption and the abuses of military and political power.
For business leaders who want to assess Indonesia’s potential as a global economic player and the risks in investing there, this book provides some good historic and political insights.
Source: Book Review: Indonesia, the Great Transition, edited by John Bresnan (Rowman & Littlefield)
Far Eastern Economic Review, May 2006
Review by Morice Mendoza