Widjojo Nitisastro (23 September 1927 – 9 March 2012) was an Indonesian economist. He was one of Indonesia's most well-known and respected economic policy-makers, both within Indonesia and overseas. Nitisastro was born in Malang in East Java, and died in Jakarta, Indonesia, aged 84.
Widjojo Nitisastro became a full professor of economics at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta at the age of 34 in 1962. In the late 1960s, after the fall of president Sukarno and the transition to the new government under president Suharto, he became one of Indonesia's most important economic policy-makers. He was generally considered to be the foremost member of the well-known 'Berkeley Mafia' group of economists who became very influential in economic policy during the period of Suharto's 'New Order' government. Other members of the group, all senior Indonesian economists, were generally regarded to include Professor Ali Wardhana, Professor Moh. Sadli, Professor Emil Salim, and Professor Subroto.
Widjojo Nitisastro held ministerial rank in successive Indonesian cabinets for most of the 1970s until 1983. He continued to be influential as one of president's most trusted advisers throughout the rest of the 1980s. He worked closely with the president until Suharto resigned from office in 1998.
Work with government
A brief summary of Widjojo's career is as follows:,
- 1955: Graduated from the Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia.
- 1955: Appointed Director, Institute for Economic and Social Research, University of Indonesia; he served concurrently as a senior staff member in the Indonesian Planning Bureau (Biro Perantjang Negara) as an advisor to the well-known leading economist, Professor Sumitro Djojohadikusumo.
- 1957-1961: Studied economics and demography at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a PhD.
- 1962: Appointed professor of economics at the University of Indonesia.
- 1964-1968: Dean, Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia, serving concurrently as Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Sciences of the Indonesian Council for Sciences.
- 1966: Appointed as team coordinator for economy and finance of the staff of personal assistants to president Suharto.
- 1967-1983: Chairman (head) of the Indonesian National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas).
- 1971: Appointed Minister for Development Planning.
- 1973-1983: Appointed Coordinating Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry.
- 1983: Term as Coordinating Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry ended. He became one of president Suharto's key economic advisers and continued to work closely with the president until Suharto resigned in 1998.
During his career in government, Widjojo was the head of many Indonesian delegations to numerous international meetings such as the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI), the Paris Club, and World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings. He was also a member of the South Commission (headed by president Julius Nyerere) as well as numerous other international committees). In 2008, the Faculty of Economics at the University of Indonesia awarded Widjojo its most prestigious award, the Wirakarya Adhitama, for a lifetime of dedication and extraordinary achievements.
After retirement, Widjojo lived quietly in Jakarta. He did not publish widely during his period in government preferring to work directly with his colleagues and president Suharto. In 2010 a collection of some of his main reports and speeches during his period as an adviser was published as Pengalaman Pembangunan Indonesia (The Indonesian Development Experience). In the collection, he discussed a wide range of issues relating to economic policy in Indonesia during the period 1965-1997 as well as providing details of the way the government responded to several key economic crises in the 1970s. This book was published in an English-language version in 2011 as The Indonesian Development Experience: A Collection of Writings and Speeches. The English-language version was launched at the Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia, on 23 September 2011.
Widjojo died on 9 March 2012 in Jakarta. His funeral service was held the same day at the Sunda Kelapa Mosque in Menteng, Jakarta. His role as a major policy-maker in Indonesia was recognised at an official ceremony in the Planning Bureau (Bappenas) following the service. In paying tribute to Widjojo's legacy, president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that Widjojo had been a leading architect of 'New Order' economic policies and that many of his ideas had formed the cornerstone of economic policy in Indonesia. After lying in state for a few hours in Bappenas to provide an opportunity for mourners, including president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to pay their respects, Widjojo was buried at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta at a ceremony led by Vice President Boediono.
In October 2012, Widjojo was recognised as the "father of Indonesian demography" during a seminar at the 62nd anniversary of the Economics Faculty, University of Indonesia. Professor Subroto, an economics professor and a colleague of Widjojo in government, said that through his work Widjojo had placed the Indonesian people at the heart of development policy in Indonesia. The seminar was organised by the Institute of Demography within the Economics Faculty at the university.