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US announces $2m grant for Indonesia's new capital Nusantara

Jakarta Globe - March 7, 2024

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The US Trade and Development Agency, also known as USTDA, announced Thursday a grant worth over $2 million to help Indonesia make its future capital Nusantara a smart city.

The grant funding will go into providing technical assistance for Nusantara's smart city needs, including developing detailed designs, technical specifications, procurement documentation, and capacity-building strategy.

"We share Indonesia's commitment to develop the kind of high-quality infrastructure that will grow and sustain long-term prosperity across the country," USTDA director Enoh T. Ebong told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday.

Ebong is scheduled to make an on-site visit to Nusantara on Friday. She revealed the USTDA would host a delegation of Nusantara's smart city decision-makers to New York, Texas, and California to meet with potential partners.

According to Nusantara's capital authority head Bambang Susantono, the USTDA's grant is expected to help Nusantara adopt state-of-the-art technologies.

"The city will fully function in 2045, and that is still years from now. [By then], new technology will come and the existing ones will be obsolete. ... Nusantara has to catch up [with those technology advancements] because we wish to be one of the leading world-class cities," Bambang said.

The USTDA grant announcement took place not long after the election in which Indonesians had to pick between presidential hopefuls Anies Baswedan, Prabowo Subianto, and Ganjar Pranowo.

Anies has been critical of the idea of building an entirely new city. Prabowo, who is leading in the latest vote counts, promised to carry on the Nusantara development.

When asked by the press if the US intentionally waited until after Prabowo's likely presidential win before launching the grant, Ebong simply answered that preparing programs related to infrastructure development usually takes time.

"To make sure that we are developing projects that are sustainable, green, and also benefit the Indonesian people, it is going to take time. We have come to the point where we are satisfied with the work in developing the project. [We launch the cooperation] the moment that it is ready and well set," Ebong said.

The Nusantara capital, which lies in East Kalimantan, is still a work in progress. Just last week, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo visited the construction grounds. He also stopped by Nusantara's command center, which enables the government to monitor the project's development using CCTV-based surveillance and drones, among others.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/us-announces-2m-grant-for-indonesias-new-capital-nusantar