Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Peak Event of the 2023 LPDP Festival at the Main Hall of Kota Kasablanka, Jakarta, August 3, 2023
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Good afternoon, may prosperity be upon us all,
Greetings of virtue.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, especially esteemed LPDP (Indonesia Endowment Funds for Education) alumni, whom I respect, I am proud of, love, and many others.
Earlier, I remembered the matter of this podium. It all started because of the COVID-19 event, during the COVID-19 time. There used to be three podiums, one there, one here, one over there. Now, there’s no COVID-19 anymore, but there are still two podiums. What’s the purpose of that, right? Earlier, I don’t mind with Pak Nadiem using this podium. However, the Minister of Education himself was worried. You can stand here; decline when other told you to go over there, “I want to be here,” say like this. It is about the podium. No, after this, there should only be one podium, I don’t want several podiums; it seems discriminatory.
I appreciate this LPDP Festival as a means of dissemination to introduce LPDP and educational programs for human resource development, for building skilled and high-quality human resources. This is very important. It’s essential because in 2030, we will face a demographic bonus, 68.3% of our population will be of productive age. This usually only happens once in the history of a country, just once, it won’t happen again.
This can become an opportunity, but it can also become a burden, even a disaster if we don’t manage it well. But, this afternoon, after Pak Nadiem, Bu Ani (Minister of Finance) delivered their statement, and I faced all of you, I am optimistic that we can use this demographic bonus to elevate our country to a developed nation. I believe that.
I remember in 2015, there was approximately Rp15 trillion in LPDP. Today, LPDP funds have reached Rp139 trillion. This is a sovereign wealth fund that we have, specifically for education. Since 2019, I have ordered the Minister of Finance that a minimum of 20 [trillion] must be allocated to LPDP each year because human resources are what will determine whether or not we can compete with other countries. That’s the key right here.
And, we know the world is changing very rapidly. Bio and nano-technology, genome sequencing are disrupting the healthcare sphere. Cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) are disrupting the field of education. Many unusual discoveries are being made now. Sometimes I wonder, what is this? Sometimes. There are energy bricks that can store solar energy, watches powered by sweat. What are these? But they exist. And, these advancements are facilitated by the state for you to study through LPDP scholarships.
I call on relevant ministers and LPDP to create a grand design for the next five years, ten years, fifteen years, twenty years, twenty-five years. We must truly have a design that matches the needs and vision of our country, our national vision. For instance, the field of study, the figures, and research areas must be well- targeted and achieve budget efficiency.
Let me give you an example now. We have an opportunity to become a developed country if we engage in downstreaming. For example, we want to build a large ecosystem for electric vehicles (EVs). What should LPDP prepare for this to process nickel ore for making steel? What are the human resource needs? They must be calculated. Oh, we must determine how many metallurgy majors we need, for instance, and met the needs.
For electric vehicles, for battery EVs, we need material science. Who should be directed there? We have chemical engineering because there are raw materials in semi-finished and finished goods. Electrical engineering is needed. We also need computer science to assemble various materials from semi-finished to finished products.
What else do we want to build in this large ecosystem? Seaweed, what majors are needed, how many human resources are required. Everything must be well-designed, so again, the human resource needs and industry needs must be very well matched, not off the mark. If we need human resource to develop electric vehicle ecosystem but awardees who will be sent abroad, for example, are related to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, it will not work later. Be careful about the issue in LPDP.
Our strength is that we have a substantial fund, now Rp139 trillion, so the top 20 universities come to us, offering themselves, unlike before. When the funds were small, we had to beg, “Please allocate five students to me.” They allocated one student. Now that we have Rp139 trillion, they come to us because we know that we have the budget in LPDP, and Rp139 trillion is not a small number, not a small number at all. Imagine if it increases by 20 or 30 [trillion] every year, our state budget goes up by 40 [trillion], what will it become? I believe this is an opportunity for all of you.
And, after returning, after completing your studies, please contribute. Don’t keep your knowledge to yourself. And, most importantly, I want to emphasize, return. Return, return, return. Even though the salary here may be slightly lower, still return. Even though there may be better facilities in other countries, still return. Because our country needs young people with forward-thinking, with a better vision, and we are indeed lacking in such human resources.
Lastly, I repeat this everywhere. In the next 13 years, it is a crucial time for our country whether or not to leap into a developed nation. Be careful, there are many examples in Latin American countries that have become developing countries in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, but they remain developing countries to this day because they couldn’t seize the opportunities, couldn’t make use of the opportunities given. In these 13 years, until 2038 approximately, we are given the opportunity to become a developed country. Whether we can or cannot depends on us. But in my opinion, leadership in 2024, 2029, and 2034 will be crucial to determine whether or not this country can advance.
Economic experts from the IMF, OECD, World Bank mentioned that Indonesia can become one of the top five countries with the highest GDP in the world. And that fate is in your hands, it seems like you’re afraid to applaud? I repeat, it is in the hands of the younger generation, it is in your hands. National leadership in 2024, 2029, and 2034 is very important for us to move forward or not. Be careful in 2024 when choosing leaders. However, sovereignty is in the hands of the people.
That concludes my remarks.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.