Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Singapore has expressed its interest to help pave the way for Indonesia's dream of building a new green and smart capital in East Kalimantan during a leaders' retreat on Thursday.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had just concluded their annual leaders' retreat in Singapore. And Jokowi will not be coming home empty-handed. The president has secured 20 of letters of intent from Singaporean investors interested in the new capital of Nusantara.
"I welcome the outcome of the leaders' retreat today, among others, the great interest of Singaporean investors in the development of Nusantara capital city," Jokowi said at a joint press conference in Singapore on Thursday.
"Overall, we have 20 letters of intent from the Singaporean private sector to invest in Nusantara from today's meeting," Jokowi said.
Also on the same day, the Nusantara Capital Authority exchanged a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Singaporean National Development Ministry. The MoU encompasses knowledge-sharing, capacity-building, and research for Nusantara.
The leaders' retreat also saw the exchange of MoU on sustainable urban and housing development. This MoU is expected to develop innovative financing for smart and sustainable infrastructure development and will include the Nusantara as a pilot project.
"President Jokowi and I discussed the Nusantara project at length. His vision for a green and smart Nusantara is a major priority for the president and Indonesia. Singapore is happy to support the president's vision," Lee told the same presser.
Indonesia is planning to host a forum in May to woo investors to help build the new capital. According to Lee, Singaporean firms will be in attendance.
Aside from the letters of intent on Nusantara, Jokowi is also bringing home nine MoUs for a business-to-business (B2B) cooperation in the healthcare and digital field, as well as seven government-to-government MoUs also related to healthcare, digital field, and energy.
"Singapore's investment in Indonesia has risen by over 40 percent. Our two-way trade volume is also seeing a 25 percent increase," Jokowi said.
The government data showed Indonesia-Singapore bilateral trade stood at $33.8 billion in 2022. Singapore also invested $10.54 billion in Indonesia last year. This represents 31.56 percent of the latter's total foreign direct investment in 2022, making Singapore Indonesia's largest foreign investor.
The government estimated that it would take Rp 466 trillion ($30.3 billion) to build Nusantara from scratch. Eighty percent of the funding will come from public-private partnerships and direct investments.