He has been fascinated by Indonesian cultures and history since the very first time he stepped foot on Indonesian soil in mid-1998, just one month after Indonesia's second president, Suharto, was forced to step down from office at a time when the Asian Crisis ravaged through the country. He decided to do his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden University (the Netherlands) with a major focus on Indonesian society, history and linguistics.

After successfully finishing his MA degree he temporarily taught Indonesian languages and cultures at the Volksuniversiteit in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), while increasingly becoming aware of the economic potential of Indonesia in a world where the economic gravity point was rapidly shifting to the East. With having had a profound training in Indonesia's macroeconomic history at university, he started to delve into the contemporary economic conditions of the country and through frequent visits to Indonesia established a network within businesses and government circles.

Since 2013 he has been permanently based in Jakarta and is frequently contacted by international media to share his views on economic, political and social developments in Indonesia. Journalists can reach him through +62(0)8 788 410 6944 (including WhatsApp). He can also act as speaker at events or give presentations to boards/workers in companies.

"One of the most important aspects of doing business in Indonesia is to comprehend Indonesia's culture of business. It amazes me how often this cultural aspect is neglected when foreigners invest in Indonesia, but it is certainly critical to achieve success. Also in-depth knowledge about Indonesia's business and investment environments is critical when preparing an investment project here. This too is sometimes underestimated by investors. Even investment projects in Indonesia carried out by foreign governments (and supported by the local embassy in Jakarta) sometimes lack expertise on Indonesia, meaning future results will be far from optimal, while public money (usually tax money) is squandered."

Organization Indonesia Investments
  Private Investment Company
Position Managing Director
Expertise Investment & Business Strategies | Investment & Business Environment | Macroeconomics & Politics | Cultural Studies


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Columns of R.M.A. van der Schaar

  • Impact of COVID-19 Crisis: Aggravation of Poverty and Inequality in Indonesia

    Impact of COVID-19 Crisis: Aggravation of Poverty and Inequality in Indonesia

    Poverty and inequality are always sensitive topics, especially in an emerging market like Indonesia where poverty and inequality (in terms of income distribution) have always been a big problem. It is something that puzzles Indonesians too. We often hear Indonesians say “our country is so rich in natural resources, so how can it be that we have so much poverty within our borders?”

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  • Economy of Indonesia; GDP Growth Slowed to 5.02% in 2019

    Economy of Indonesia; GDP Growth Slowed to 5.02% in 2019

    As expected, Indonesia’s full-year 2019 economic growth came in well below the central government’s 5.3 percent year-on-year (y/y) growth target. Based on the data that were released by Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik, BPS) in early February 2020, the Indonesian economy expanded at a pace of 5.02 percent (y/y) in 2019.

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  • Rapidly Developing E-Commerce Sector Changes the Traditional Way of Doing Business in Indonesia

    Rapidly Developing E-Commerce Sector Changes the Traditional Way of Doing Business in Indonesia

    E-commerce – which refers to the activity of electronically buying (or selling) products through online services or over the Internet – has been developing rapidly in Indonesia over the past decade. More and more Indonesians have started to shop online, forcing many offline retail players to adapt and innovate their business models in order to survive in this new and challenging environment where two newcomers, both tech startups and both e-commerce platforms, have developed into a unicorn (Tokopedia and Bukalapak) which is a startup that is valued above USD $1 billion.

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  • Islamic Banking & Finance: What is Holding Back Sharia Finance in Indonesia?

    Islamic Banking & Finance: What is Holding Back Sharia Finance in Indonesia?

    Indonesia is known for being home to the world’s largest Muslim population. More than 230 million Indonesians – which is about 88 percent of Indonesia’s total population – are categorized as Muslim. In fact, nearly 13 percent of all Muslims in the world, today, live in Indonesia. These are very impressive numbers and surely impact heavily on Indonesian society, the economy, and politics.

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