JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said Indonesia remains consistent in its efforts to strengthen ties with Asian-African countries, and noted that Indonesia and Africa have great potential to mutually develop and strengthen their economies.

“To develop cooperation with Africa is one of the priorities of Indonesia’s foreign policy,” Antara news agency reported him saying in his opening speech at the Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF) currently being held at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center in Bali.

As the second growing economy in the world, Africa has been said to have many hidden potential, and Jusuf Kalla in his speech, spoke of Wakanda, a fictional African nation which is featured in the blockbuster Hollywood movie, and its superhero Black Panther, and likening its story of hidden gems to Africa.

“I am reminded of the film Black Panther and its fictional nation Wakanda. It has great resources that are often unknown by the outside world, so is Africa, a continent with tremendous potential,” he said.

The two-day forum which took off on Tuesday, seeks to provide space for dialogue between African and Indonesian businesses with several agreements expected to be signed.

The forum will also facilitate business matchmaking, encourage technical cooperation and explore possibilities for triangular cooperation, among others.

Jusuff Kalla said Indonesia and Africa were also in the process of building massive infrastructures to boost their economies.

“Like Africa, we (Indonesia) understand that infrastructure development is important, if we want to see the rapid economic growth to benefit our society,” he said.

The IAF is a platform for Indonesian and African governments and business actors to promote trade and economic cooperation, as well as investment opportunities and technical cooperation between Indonesia and the countries of the African Union region.

The total value of Indonesia’s trade with Africa in 2017 reached US$8.85 billion, an increase by 15.49 percent from the previous year.

Commodities exported to Africa include palm oil, textiles, paper, soap and coffee.