MARI Elka Pangestu the Indonesia Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy is one of the most versatile women who understand the dynamism, dictate, torrents and manipulative tendencies of the world economy.
Her tenure as the Minister of Trade brought Indonesia to the front burner of the world economic discourse and illuminated the dominative strong position of Indonesia among the ASEAN countries.
Highly intelligent, proactive, dynamic and blessed with a robust mental capacity of grappling issues fast, this lady has been tipped for the post of the Director–General, World Trade Organisation.
And she has all it takes.
Academically, she is not a push over, Mari Pangestu obtained her Bachelor and Master of Economics from the Australia National University and her Ph.D in Economics from the University of California, Davies, specialising in macroeconomics, and international trade and finances.
With this rich background, Mari Pangestu has had experience over 25 years in academia, second track processes, international organisations and government working in areas related to international trade, investment and development in the multilateral, regional and domestic setting.
Mari Pangestu has experience in leading negotiations and coordinating various groups within the multilateral, regional and national context. For instance, coordinating the developing group G33, chair of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in 2011; preparing the way and negotiating various regional (ASEAN and with it dialogue partners) and bilateral agreements with Japan, Korea, EFTA, EU and India; and passage of various domestic laws and regulations. The experience, shows her leadership skills as well as the ability to listen, find consensus and common opportunities among countries with different levels of development as well as between groups with different interest.
Before becoming a minister between 1987and 2003, she had an active career in research and providing policy advice on international trade and investment issues, political economy of reforms and sustainable development issues. She undertook these activities in her various roles at the University of Indonesia; Centre of Strategic and International Studies, which is Indonesia’s leading think tank; and as part of the second track networks in the region, such as Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).
Prior to her current position as Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy(2011-2012), Mari Pangestu was the Minister of Trade for Indonesia for seven years(2004-2011). As Minister of Trade she played an active role in the WTO representing her country as well as groups of developing countries such as the G33 and an active member in other groups(G20, Cairns, Green Room).
She initiated and led various Ministers of Trade meetings; provided leadership in regional cooperation, including the year Indonesia was the Chair of ASEAN in 2011 and at APEC ; and prepared and led all international trade negotiations and cooperation for Indonesia. During her tenure as the Minister of Trade, she also laid down the national policy foundation of trade and development.
Mari Pangestu is also currently a member of the UNCTAD Secretary-Generals panel of eminent persons which has been tasked to prepared the report on sustainable development; a member of the Access to Capital Sub committee, International Council on Women Business Leaders which is chaired by Hilary Clinton; and a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions.
Network; a global initiative for the UN which is chaired by Jeffrey Sachs and intended to provide input for the post 2015 MDG Sustainable Development Goals.
She has published widely, was an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Japan Research Centre, the Australian National University and served on the board of various leading Indonesian companies.
Mari Pangestus was also a consultant to various international organisations such as the World Bank, IFC, and Asian Development Bank working on the trade and investment issues (1987-2003)