Jokowi raises gender, economic issues during visit to New Zealand

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) raised gender and economic issues during a meeting with New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy in a state visit to Wellington, also marking the 60th anniversary of Indonesia-New Zealand diplomatic relations.

Bey Machmudin, head of the presidential press bureau, noted in a statement received by ANTARA on Monday that the president highlighted gender equality as a means to forge bilateral relations.

"I have been informed of Her Majestys interests in realizing gender equality. Although our population is predominantly Muslim, but womens progress in Indonesia is remarkable," he noted.

President Jokowi is one of the worlds champions for the "HeForShe" campaign. The global campaign, initiated by the UN Women, has a goal of achieving equality by encouraging men and boys to serve as the agents of change and take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.

As part of his commitment to improve womens representation in decision-making processes, the president has doubled the number of women ministers at the cabinet level, from four to eight.

"I have eight women ministers from 34 ministers, and they hold strategic portfolios," Jokowi, who was accompanied by Indonesias first woman Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, remarked.

In addition to the shared vision on addressing gender equality issues, President Jokowi noted that Indonesia and New Zealand are both archipelagic nations. With such geographical conditions, he believes that the challenge of connectivity holds significance for both countries.

"With such geographical conditions, the development of infrastructure and connectivity is my priority, so that all regions in Indonesia can be equally developed," he added.

Indonesia and New Zealand have shared sound relations based on the two principles of mutual respect and benefit.

Hence, Jokowi opined that these sound relations should be maintained through various forms of cooperation, including in the fields of economy and people-to-people contacts.

The energy sector, especially geothermal, for instance, is one of the areas of cooperation that has long been carried out by Indonesia and New Zealand. This cooperation was initiated in 1970, with the development of power plant projects.

The last issue that the president highlighted in his speech was inter-community cooperation or people-to-people contacts. As many as 5,500 Indonesian citizens live in New Zealand, including 1,290 students studying at schools and universities.

"Thank you for treating Indonesian citizens and students well," Jokowi stated.

At the end of his speech, President Jokowi invited David Gascoigne, the husband of Governor-General Reddy, to visit Indonesia.

"I am sure His Majesty will love Indonesia, with its great variety of culture and art. I am waiting for His Majesty to visit Indonesia," he remarked.

Source: ANTARA News

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