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Economics

Yawning Skills Gap Threatens Indonesia’s Path to Prosperity

  • Only 17 percent of people working have finished high school
  • President faces a tough election battle as voters seek jobs
Joko Widodo
Joko WidodoPhotographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

As Indonesia’s Joko Widodo bids for a second term, a skills shortage that’s leaving tens of millions locked out of higher-paid jobs is weighing on his quest to develop the economy.

It’s a stark challenge, according to the nation’s investment board chief Tom Lembong, who illustrated its scale by describing a conversation with the local partner to a Chinese company backing a $5 billion industrial park in Central Sulawesi.