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Despite Having A Bigger Population, Why Is Indonesia More Successful Than Nigeria? – By Leon Boersma

Despite Having A Bigger Population, Why Is Indonesia More Successful Than Nigeria? – By Leon Boersma

Why is Indonesia more successful than Nigeria, despite having a bigger population and being geographically more spread out?

Having lived there and studied it’s history. Also being half Indonesian myself, (Dutch and Makassar-Manado). My dad also worked for Shell as a teacher in Port Harcourt, Nigeria in the 90’s.

Corruption in Indonesia is steadily going down.

We now have the least corrupt president in Indonesia’s history.

Economy is ever growing faster since the collapse of old government. (way faster since early 2000’’s, but temporarily declining since COVID).

Handling diversity:

Indonesia is also ethnically diverse, having no majority culture, 350+. Some sources say 1,300+ ethnic groups and 200+ languages Indigenious to it) with diversity getting stronger the more East you go.

To combat disparity and instability everyone shares 1 mandatory language used nationally that is easy to learn “Bahasa Indonesian”.

Basically everyone knows “Bahasa Indonesian”, which is the mandatory national language which creates cohesion, a sense of shared identity and better cooperation.

Religion’s of Indonesia

Religion percentages also makes the country less feasible to instability and collapse. Having ~87% being Muslim, ~10% Christian and ~3% Hindu.

(Unlike Nigeria’s ~50% Muslim, ~50% Christian. Which I can imagine can create higher levels of tension.)

Natural resources/major exports:

Indonesia has the 2nd most fertile land in the world to be cultivated (volcanic tropical soil), large spread out islands with a variety of natural resources to be sold because of that like, Palmoil, coconut, Crude Oil, Diamonds, 24k quality Gold, copper, among others. (biggest mine in the world “Grassberg”.)

Though Nigeria is way richer in Oil, but less rich in others things I can think about. I assume it’s Nigeria’s corruption of leaders and the local bribes to oil companies among others that would make this the case.

Age demographic and productivity:

Average age population of Indonesia is also reaching 30 years about now, which is the age where people are most productive/creative for own country while not having many elderly people weighing economy down. Not having ‘too’ many kids nowadays (2,5–3 per woman) helps parents save up more money for the kids education (compared to 6 kids per woman back in Indonesia’s the day).

Demographics (again)

The Indonesian Island of Java (the overcrowded economic heartland) has 2 main cultures native of the island of significance. These 2 cultures are: Javanese 100 mil 40% total pop. Sundanese not sudanese 30 mil. ~20%, which together combined add up to a whopping 130 million on the island alone.

That’s almost 60% of Indonesia’s total population on an island that makes up just around 10% of total landmass.

The remaining 35% of cultures don’t even pass the 4% mark.

non-native Indonesians make up 5%.


Though there has been a lot of insurgencies and religious wars in in Indonesia (+ invasion of neighboring country East-Timor, but I digress).Most of the rebellions largely took/takes place in areas/(big) islands far from Java and the capital city Jakarta. Which protects the government of being overthrown which prevents instability.

Like in end 90’s/early 2000’s was an unstable time when the dictator “Suharto” was overthrown. Which afterwards sparked most of the 2nd wave of rebellions outside Java. Later everything stabilized alongside corruption and economy.

These culture/religious wars/clashes were caused among others things, but all including the cause: lack of identity with the heartland Java, most of these are long gone event though.. there’s still one rebellion ongoing in West Papua Indonesia, but decreasing in plevelance probably due to military strength/ bettering economic status as well as having a fairer/bettering government like the president now who invest’s in better infrastructure and jobs nation wide instead of just Java while respecting to put effort in preserving everyone’s culture/religion.

Discrimination of religion and race.

Indonesia is getting more polarized in terms of way of practicing Islam. Some are getting more traditional, while other muslims are leaving the Islamic lifestyle while still identifying as Muslim. Mostly in big cities this happens.

This could be the result of exposure to the internet/social media allowing different views/influences to be adopted, only a small percentage of Muslims are getting more radical most/average are just “normal”.

Only in extreme cases by fanatics/extremists is property damage/bombing done, like again last year in Makassar which was also on the news Internationally. I have to visit Indonesia again this year to see how it has changed since 2019, COVID can create instability (though “not that much”, it has probably risen by a small fraction as this problem began to rise a few years earlier than that, but still…

Racism is on the decline and more noticeably so due to modernity, social media on nation/international level and exposure from people from other ethnic groups in Indonesia (native non-“Asian” looking peoples) like Mollucans, Papuans and sometimes East-Nusa-Tengarrans who sometimes move to the more prosperous cities like any other ethnic group does, because you know, the cities bring in money.


Even though Indonesia has a low crime rate, that’s also growing more and more in the cities, also not by much, but still. These are usually lower class teenagers in big cities who don’t see a future before them.

Indonesia invented the Indomie, Nigeria just swallowed it…

LoL.. No pun intended

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