Czech Prime Minister’s Visit Boosts Strategic Partnership with Indonesia: Key MoUs Signed
During Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s visit to Indonesia in April 2023, significant Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the two countries. This visit, which coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, focused on enhancing bilateral relations in key areas such as healthcare, energy, education, agriculture, and sustainable development. Prime Minister Petr Fiala was accompanied by prominent representatives from the Czech business community, demonstrating their keen interest in exploring investment opportunities available in Indonesia.
Indonesia and Czech Republic trade continues to grow
While H.E. Petr Fiala’s visit included other destinations, Indonesia stood out due to its increasing cross-sector cooperation across multiple industries. While the defence industry is traditionally the most prominent axis of Czech-Indonesian cooperation since the 1960s business ties have been particularly strong in areas of metallurgy, energy, and healthcare, which are now being complemented with promising joint projects in the area of smart innovations and sustainability development solutions.
The Czech Republic holds a significant position as one of Indonesia’s largest trading partners in Central Europe with bilateral trade reaching over US$250 million in 2022, representing an increase of 11 percent from the previous year. As with previous years, the Czech Republic continues to enjoy a trade surplus and in 2022 this reached over US$170 million based on BPS – the Indonesian Statistical Office Dataset.
In addition to the bilateral meeting between H.E. Petr Fiala and H.E. Joko Widodo, a business forum was organized in the Kempinski Hotel in Jakarta in which 140 Indonesian businesses attended, fostering further engagement. The event saw an MoU signing between the Czech Chamber of Commerce, represented by Mr. Vladimir Dlouhy, and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) represented by its Vice-Chairwoman, Ms Shinta Widjaja Kamdani.
Cooperation in higher education
The two countries have also cooperated in the field of higher education, spearheaded by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague together with the Palacky University.
Further, the Brno University of Technology boasts numerous inter-university agreements.
Knowledge sharing and sustainable development initiatives
Both countries are also cooperating on sustainable development initiatives, particularly focusing on conserving endangered species and addressing climate change.
The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Jakarta provides financial support for projects dedicated to the conservation of the Sumatran elephant and the Javan slow loris. Moreover, civil society organizations (CSOs) in Indonesia have also benefited from knowledge sharing by Czech experts in environmental studies and conservation through collaborations with Czech-Indonesian NGOs.
The Czech-Indonesian cooperation often leads to innovative technical solutions for the diverse challenges faced by Indonesia as an emerging country. Czech businesses have invested in projects in water and wastewater management, organic farming, and hydropower energy in Indonesia. Many of these initiatives were supported through the B2B program of Czechaid. They range from ensuring access to clean water for vulnerable communities to designing landscape parks in protected areas, as well as establishing a network of seismic stations with early warning systems across remote areas in Indonesia.
Furthermore, the Czech University of Life Science Prague has partnered with PT Pangandaran Permaculture to establish a center for smart farming based on agriculture 4.0. The partnership was announced during the Czech Prime Minister’s visit. The center will apply smart technologies in ordinary farm systems, as well as in the production and processing of agricultural products to produce the highest quality of farm products and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the farming ecosystem. The business-science nexus is an integral part of this partnership, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology within the scientific community and its practical application through local companies, contributing to the growth of Indonesia’s agricultural sector.
Security at the heart of Czech-Indonesian relations
Defense and security remain at the heart of the Czech-Indonesia cooperation. Excalibur International, an export agency representing the Czechoslovak Group, has emerged as a significant contributor to Indonesia’s efforts to upgrade its defence system. The company, along with its Indonesian partners, aims to generate investments worth US$1 billion in strategic projects aimed at improving Indonesia’s air-defence systems.
Excalibur International’s involvement spans various activities, including technological transfer, the co-production of defence materials, and the establishment of an authorized service center for Tatra Trucks in cooperation with the local Indonesian partner PT Hasema, a specialist and manufacturer of transport equipment.
The Czech Republic continues to commit to maintaining a free, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific region through many axes of cooperation with regional partners such as Indonesia. The country is an important regional power and will play a central role in the positive geopolitical development of the region.
Written by: Alena Stojdlova, MBA, Head of Economic and Trade Section, Embassy of the Czech Republic in Jakarta, Indonesia.
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