Boldly Going Where No Indonesian President Has Gone Before

Invest in Indonesia
Invest in Indonesia
Image by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash.

I remember watching the original series of Star Trek on a black and white TV.

A what?

I can hear eyes rolling, so for those of you who have no idea what that means, have a look at this Wikipedia link about the history of TV.

 Anyway, TVs were all the rage in those days (if you could get one) and one of the highlights of my youth was watching Star Trek at seven-thirty on a Tuesday evening. It was then– and some would say, still is– ahead of its time. In much the same way Indonesia is also on a voyage of discovery; exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life in rundown sectors of the economic galaxy and its captain is President Joko Widodo.

He’s on a mission, that’s for sure, and he’s boldly taking the world’s largest archipelago and Southeast Asia’s largest economy on a journey of epic proportions.

The Jakarta Globe recently reported that Jokowi (the president’s demonstrative nickname) has just unveiled his plans for something he’s calling the “Big Bang.” That’s a pretty big statement so he better have a pretty big bang to back it up. And he does! So get ready for warp factor ten!

Jokowi’s “Big Bang” intends to encourage competition by loosening the restrictions and rules on foreign investment in nearly 50 sectors of the economy including retail, health care, the movie and entertainment industries and e-commerce. Now, that IS a Big Bang because if you follow Indonesian politics or if you live here you’ll know some of these sectors, like health care, have been strangled by red-tape for so long foreign investors have had them on the same shelf as unicorn hair and angel tears.

Terje Nilsen, Co Owner of Seven Stones Indonesia is one of the enlightened few who has a real sense of the bigger picture and how Jokowi’s government is on a positive track to energize the country. “In the last six months we’ve seen a roll out of stimulus packages which have covered a broad line of businesses, regulations and taxes that will enhance growth and investment across the board. These are exciting times!” declares Nilsen.

Trade Minister, Thomas Lembong is on the same page. He told Reuters that these ground breaking changes “signal a greater openness to foreign investment” which has historically been shackled by something called the Negative Investment List; a list stipulating which sectors are open or closed to foreign investment as well as the percentage of foreign ownership permitted. And Jokowi himself has said that he is “seriously considering deregulation across the board.”

All indicators point to changes in each of the sixteen main sectors in the Negative Investment List. Reuters suggests that this will include “agriculture, forestry, energy, communication and transport. In some cases this would raise the limit on foreign investment stakes in companies from a minority to a majority.”

“The health care push which would open hospitals, clinics and laboratory services to foreign companies could bring a sea-change in a country where at present foreign medical professionals are not allowed to practice.”

Deregulation and development are the spearheads of Jokowi’s strategy. He sees competition as being healthy and infrastructural progress as critical. In terms of investment, particularly foreign investment, falling interest rates and rising public spending are much needed carrots and he knows how money follows this sort of carrot.

Indonesia’s President Widodo’s mission is righteous and true. His bigger picture includes the people of his country in a much more conscious and human way than his predecessors. He’s a regular guy removed from the corrupt world of politics and the military. He doesn’t claim to have all the answers or be infallible and I’m sure he’d be the first one to admit that he makes the odd mistake now and again, but the bottom line is this; now is the time to leave old ways of thinking at the door and now is the time to invest in a country determined to have a leading role in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about investing in Indonesia get in touch with us today through

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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.