(Bloomberg) -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo assured investors his policies and projects will carry on, including the construction of a new capital city even after he steps down from office next year.
“Your investment in Indonesia will continue to be safe and also the continuity of the Nusantara new capital city,” the leader better known as Jokowi said in his speech at the Ecosperity forum in Singapore on Wednesday. “Everything will be fine, don’t worry,” he said, seeking to reassure investors closely watching the leadership transition after the Feb. 2024 election.
Jokowi, 61, is ending his second and final five-year term in about a year after a decade of rule marked by political stability, steady growth and business-friendly policies on infrastructure and tourism. The incumbent is backing Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, the presidential contender for the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle or PDI-P of which both are members.
During Jokowi’s second term, he initiated the creation of a $34 billion new capital city called Nusantara to replace Jakarta and attract investors. At the same time, he pursued a nationalistic agenda through a natural minerals policy that focuses more on onshore processing, seeking to transform Southeast Asia’s largest economy into a manufacturing powerhouse to enable it to achieve high-income status by 2045. At Indonesia’s hosting of the Group of 20 Summit last year, the leader took the global stage wielding soft power.
Jokowi took the opportunity at the Singapore forum to promote Nusantara, which has yet to secure key private and foreign investment needed to provide the bulk of the capital. The government has committed to finance 20% of the project but will need other investors to fund the balance.
Development of the project is ongoing and the first phase — comprising the presidential palace, a few ministerial buildings and amenities — is set to be completed by August next year, he said. The project also has the potential to harness renewable energy such as wind and solar, Jokowi said.
Some foreign investors are conducting due diligence and discussions but requested strict confidentiality, Bambang Susantono, who heads the office managing the project, said at a separate panel discussion in the Singapore conference.
The government said it has received more than 150 letters of intent on the new capital city but no binding agreements have been signed.
“Please don’t wait, come and join us,” Susantono said. “Seeing is believing.”
Jokowi is set to continue his overseas trip by meeting his counterpart Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia on Wednesday to discuss border policies, protection of migrant workers, strengthening the Asean along with regional and global issues, according to Malaysia’s foreign affairs ministry.
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