Jakarta – Indonesia's leading business groups have lobbied a consortium of Spanish investors to invest in the development project of the former's new capital, Nusantara.
The move would forge ahead a new path for realizing the Southeast Asian nation's aspiration of having a smart and sustainable city for its capital following a setback dealt with by the Japanese investment company SoftBank's decision to pull out from the project.
Rusmin Lawin, the deputy chairman of Real Estate Indonesia (REI) and deputy chairman of the regional developments committee at Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), met with the representatives from Madrid World Capital of Construction, Engineering, and Architecture (MWCC) to discuss the project in Madrid last week.
"We had a serious discussion with David Garcia Nunes, the president of MWCC; Jose Luis Moreno, the director-general of the Regional Government of Madrid for the Madrid Project Nuevo Norte; Alberto Bernal the director of smart cities of Indra Corporation, facilitated by Alfonso Vegara, the founder and chair of Fundacion Metropoli, at the foundation's headquarters Ecobox Albendas," Rusmin said in a statement Sunday.
"They plan to visit Jakarta in June to discuss in detail investment scheme with the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), National Capital Authority of Nusantara, and Kadin and REI, Rusmin said.
The Spanish consortium should bring several critical aspects to Indonesia's new capital development project, including technology transfer, knowledge and experience transfer, and capital transfer, Rusmin said.
The City Council of Madrid established MWCC with objectives that include positioning Spain and its capital as the world's capital for construction innovation and sustainability. Currently, the association counts more than 120 public and private entities as its members.
The consortium is currently working on the Madrid Nuevo Norte, the biggest redevelopment in Spanish history. It builds a smart city on top of Madrid's station with a building area of 2.65 million square meters which will provide 241,700 jobs.
"The project is very suitable to be used as a reference for smart city development in Nusantara, as well as the 100 Smart Cities program launched by Bappenas," Rusmin, who also serves as a global advisor at Fundacion Metropoli, said.
Alberto Bernal, the director of smart cities of Indra Corporation, expressed readiness to participate in the development of Smart City in IKN and other potential cities in Indonesia. "Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world's population has many cities with a population of more than two million. That's the main factor that made us interested in Indonesia," Bernal said in the statement.
Interest from major Spanish investors came to light after SoftBank – a company founded by Masayoshi Son who also serves in Indonesia's new capital steering committee – pulled out of its commitment to investing in the project.
Still, the government allayed concerns that were raised from Softbank's departure, saying it still has various sources of funding for the $32.5 billion projects. "In principle, the new capital development financing can come from the state budget and other legal sources of funding according," Sidik Pramono, the head of the communications team for the National Capital Authority of Nusantara said on Saturday.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the state budget would account for about a fifth of the new capital cost, with the private sector and public-private partnership scheme accounting for the rest of the costs.
The United Arab Emirates has announced its commitment to invest up to $10 billion into the new capital project. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had also reiterated the kingdom's interest in investing in the project when the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan visited him earlier this month.
REI, Kadin European-Middle East tour
Rusmin said REI and Kadin has launched another round of tour in Europe and the Middle East to attract investors' interest in Indonesia's new capital project. Following Madrid's meeting, the Indonesian business associations attend Le Marche International des Professionnels de l'immobilier (Mipim), an annual event of real estate professionals in Cannes, France.
The associations would also present at the International Property Show in Dubai on March 19-27. Rusmin said REI and Kadin would be at both events to talk with prospective investors about Indonesia's new capital project.