• President wants creative economy to contribute 9% to GDP
  • Agency promotes fashion, films, games for foreign investments

Indonesia wants to lower its reliance on natural resources and President Joko Widodo is turning the spotlight on films, fashion and handicrafts.

Growth in these creative industries is set to exceed the pace of the nation’s gross domestic product of about 5 percent, said Triawan Munaf, head of Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy. These sectors accounted for about 7.4 percent of Indonesia’s GDP, or about 1,000 trillion rupiah ($73 billion) in 2017, and Widodo seeks to raise it to 9 percent by 2020, he said.

Indonesia’s economic fortunes have for long been tied to its resources industry and Widodo, also known as Jokowi, in 2015 set up the agency for creative economy to promote foreign investment in sunrise sectors like entertainment, fashion textiles and packaged food. The government’s move to allow foreign investments in films, movie distribution and exhibition has lured foreign investors including 21st Century Fox Inc. and South Korea’s Lotte Cinema Co.

“The focus on creative economy is really paying off,” Munaf said in an interview at his office in central Jakarta on April 2. “The removal of the film industry from the negative list for foreign investors has led to a surge in the number of screens and…