The Indonesian Ambassador to Kenya, concurrently Uganda, RD Congo, and Somalia, Hery Saripudin handed over a letter of credence from President Joko Widodo to the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. The handover will take place on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.
He carries two main missions in the advancement of relations between Indonesia and Somalia, namely increasing economic and socio-cultural cooperation.
"Indonesia and Somalia need to improve bilaterally," said Hery.
In addition to submitting credentials, Ambassador Hery also held a series of meetings with several ministers, high-ranking officials, businessmen, and Indonesian alumni in Somalia.
Indonesia-Somalia have established diplomatic relations since 1960. "This historical relationship is the basic capital that needs to be capitalized for the progress of the two countries," said Ambassador Hery.
Indonesia-Somalia trade relations continue to strengthen from year to year. Even in the midst of declining global trade due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indonesia-Somalia trade figure actually increased by 14 percent in the 2019-2020 period.
"Somalia is an important trading partner for Indonesia in the East Africa region," he said, when he met with the Minister of Trade and Industry of Somalia, Khaliif Abdi Omar.
In addition, Indonesia-Somalia trade relations are always in a balance condition which is almost entirely a surplus for Indonesia. A number of Indonesia's leading export commodities are textiles, palm oil derivative products, and paper derivative products.
In Somalia, the typical Indonesian goyor woven sarong is a product that is very well known and in demand by the local population. The existing statistical data on Indonesian exports does not reflect product exports to Somalia through third countries, so it does not reflect the overall value of Indonesia's exports to Somalia.
To improve the good relations that have been established, Indonesia is currently trying to initiate discussions on the Preferential Tariff Agreement (PTA) with the Government of Somalia to reduce trade barriers for the two countries' leading commodities.
Somalia itself is known as a producer and exporter of livestock in the form of cattle, goats, and camels, and is one of the largest suppliers of livestock meat to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season. In addition, the country is also one of the exporters of sesame to Europe.
"We want to make the RI-Somalia trade a win-win relationship," said the former Consul General of Jeddah.
This good trade relationship cannot be separated from the role of Somali citizens, alumni of Indonesian universities. Currently, there are more than 20 alumni who are spread across various regions in Somalia.
Starting from the habit of using Indonesian products while studying, some of these alumni became importers of various necessities from Indonesia.