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Indonesia Profile
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Geography
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of five major islands and about 30 smaller groups. The figure for the total number of islands is 17,508 according to the Indonesian Naval Hydro-Oceanographic office. The archipelagos on a crossroads between two oceans, the Pacific and the Indian, and bridges two continents, Asia and Australia.

This strategic position has always influenced he cultural, social, political and economic life of the country. The territory of the Republic of Indonesia stretches from 6008’ north latitude to 11015’ south latitude, and from 94045’ east longitude. The Indonesian sea area is four times greater than its land area, which is about 1,9 millions sq. km. The sea area is about 7,9 million sq. km; (including an exclusive economic zone) and constitutes about 81% of the total area of the country.

The five main islands are: Sumatra, which is about 473,606 sq. km. In size; the most fertile and densely populated islands, Java/Madura, 132,107 sq. km; Kalimantan, which comprises two-thirds of the island of Borneo and measures 539,460 sq. km; Sulawesi, 189,216 sq. km; and Irian Jaya, 421,981 sq. km, which is part of the world's second larges island, New Guinea.

Indonesia’s other islands are smaller in size. The archipelago is divided into three groups. The island of Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan, and the small islands in-between, lie on the Sunda Shelf which begin on the coasts of Malaysia and Indo China, where the sea depth does not exceed 700 feet, Irian Jaya which is part of the island of New Guinea, and the Aru Islands le on the Sahul Shelf, which stretches northwards from the Australian coast. Here the sea depth is similar to that of the Sunda Shelf.

Located between these two shelves is the island group of Nusatenggara, Maluku and Sulawesi, where the sea depth reaches 15.000 feet. Coastal plains have been developed around the islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya. The land area is generally covered by thick tropical rain forests, where fertile soils are continuously replenished by volcanic eruptions like those on the island of Java.

The country is predominantly mountainous with some 400 volcanoes, of which 100 are active. Mountains higher than 9.000 feet are found on the islands of Sumatra (Mt. Leuser and Mt. Kerinci), Java (Mt. Gede, Mt. Tangkubanperahu, Mt. Ciremai, Mt. Kawi, Mt. Kelud, Mt. Semeru and Mt. Raung), Sulawesi ((Mt. Lompobatang and Mt. Rantekombala), Bali (M. Batur and Mt. Agung), Lombok (Mt. Rinjani), and Sumbawa (Mt. Tambora). The highest mountain is the perpetually snow-capped Mandala Top (15.300 feet) in the Jaya Wijaya mountain range of Irian Jaya.

Many rives flow throughout the country. They serve as useful transportation routes on certain islands, for example, the Musi, Batanghari, Indragiri and Kampar rives in Sumatra; the Kapuas, Barito, Mahakam and Rejang rives in Kalimantan; and the Memberamo and Digul rives in Irian Jaya. On Java rivers are important for irrigation purposes, i.e., the Bengawan Solo, Citarum and Brantas rives.

A number of islands are dotted with scenic lakes, like the Toba, Maninjau and Singkarak lakes on Sumatra; the Tempe, Towuti, Sidenreng, Poso, Limboto, Tondano, and Matana lakes on Sulawesi; and the Paniai and Sentani lakes on Irian Jaya.

Indonesia Profile - Geography



People and Government
Indonesia has a population of 197,232,428 (July 1993 est.). Nationals of Indonesia are known as Indonesian(s). The primary ethnic group is Javanese (45%) and Sundanese (14%). The predominant religion is Muslim (87%). Languages spoken include Bahasa Indonesia (official), and English.

The country is known officially as Republic of Indonesia and in short, Indonesia. Indonesia is a republic. the capital is Jakarta. The national holiday is on 17 August (1945). In the government system of Indonesia, the President is both head of state and chief executive. He holds office for a term of five years and is eligible for re-election. Since the President is also the Mandatary of the People’s Consultative Assembly, he must execute his duties in compliance with the Guidelines of State Policy as decreed by the Assembly.

Indonesia Profile - People and Government



Economy
Indonesia is a mixed economy with many socialist institutions and central planning but with a recent emphasis on deregulation and private enterprise. Indonesia has extensive natural wealth, yet, with a large and rapidly increasing population, it remains a poor country.

Real GDP growth in 1985-92 averaged about 6%, quite impressive, but not sufficient to both slash underemployment and absorb the 2.3 million workers annually entering the labor force. Agriculture, including forestry and fishing, is an important sector, accounting for almost 20% of GDP and over 50% of the labor force. The staple crop is rice.

Once the world's largest rice importer, Indonesia is now nearly self-sufficient. Plantation crops - rubber and palm oil - and textiles and plywood are being encouraged for both export and job generation. Industrial output now accounts for almost 40% of GDP and is based on a supply of diverse natural resources, including crude oil, natural gas, timber, metals, and coal. Of these, the oil sector dominates the external economy, generating more than 20% of the government's revenues and 40% of export earnings in 1989.

However, the economy's growth is highly dependent on the continuing expansion of nonoil exports. Japan remains Indonesia's most important customer and supplier of aid. Rapid growth in the money supply in 1989-90 prompted Jakarta to implement a tight monetary policy in 1991, forcing the private sector to go to foreign banks for investment financing.

Real interest rates remained above 10% and off-shore commercial debt grew. The growth in off-shore debt prompted Jakarta to limit foreign borrowing beginning in late 1991. Despite the continued problems in moving toward a more open financial system and the persistence of a fairly tight credit situation, GDP growth in 1992 is estimated to have stayed at 6%.

Indonesia Profile - Economy
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