Nusa Dua Bali

G20 opens in Indonesia

On November 15th the 17th meeting of the G20 opened in Nusa Dua, Bali, in Indonesia. The meeting will see Indonesia struggle to promote its own agenda, amid a wide array of pressing global issues.

Why does it matter?

For Indonesia the summit is an opportunity to promote itself on the world stage and make the case that the country is now a major diplomatic player, capable of shaping discussion on global issues and contributing to their resolution. However, the current wide array of trends and events that require multilateral engagement means that Indonesia will struggle to hold the focus on its preferred agenda. 

The items that Indonesia will raise at the event fall mainly under the three areas of its “recover together, recover stronger” theme: strengthening of global health architecture, digital transformation and energy transition. Food security is another issue that Indonesian president, Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi) has promoted in the lead‑up to the meeting. However, events and conclusions at the summit that will receive the most international attention are more likely to relate to the war in Ukraine and US‑China tension, especially as the meeting between the US president, Joe Biden, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, is their first in‑person contact as national leaders. 

EIU does not expect the summit to lead to any immediate concrete agreements. It will, however, set the stage for further high‑level bilateral diplomacy after the meeting, for instance between the US and China, and allow leaders to better assess how respective countries’ views on global issues are evolving, such as the degrees of opposition to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Indonesia will make little progress on its own agenda, partly on account of the other issues that will dominate, but also owing to its own uneven commitment to the priorities it has put forward, such as energy transition. In addition, the event will have only a mild lasting positive influence on Indonesia’s diplomatic status. The country will continue to be constrained by avowed neutrality on many political issues, which, while facilitating friendly ties with many countries, also prevents it from integrating more deeply with major global powers and blocs. Indonesia will also continue to be constricted in the medium term by its protectionist tendencies, which will intermittently undermine relations with trading partners. 

What next?

Indonesia will make limited progress on its agenda at the summit. The event will promote the country’s growing prominence in the global economy, but we do not expect it to be a watershed moment for its international diplomatic position.

The analysis and forecasts featured in this piece can be found in EIU Viewpoint, our new country analysis solution. EIU Viewpoint provides unmatched global insights covering the political and economic outlook for nearly 200 countries, helping organisations identify prospective opportunities and potential risks.