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Aecom, McKinsey and Nikken Sekkei hired to design new Indonesian capital

US engineering giant Aecom, along with consultant McKinsey and Japanese architect Nikken Sekkei, have been hired to design Indonesia’s $34bn new capital city in the rainforests of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

The new city will make use of the latest technology and will be environmentally friendly, Indonesia’s maritime affairs and investment minister, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said on 28 February, The Jakarta Post reports.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said it would be a "smart metropolis" that matches Silicon Valley.

The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is leading a steering committee for the mega scheme.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair and the billionaire founder of Japanese holding company SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, are also on the committee, which is tasked with luring investors. 

Indonesia will fund a fifth of the $34bn cost 5,600-ha downtown area of the new capital, set to house the new presidential palace and other government buildings.

The government of the UAE earlier said it would invest $22.8bn in Indonesia together with SoftBank and the United States International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC).

The Indonesian government began studying East Kalimantan as the location for a new capital in March last year. It wants to exit Jakarta because it is congested and sinking.

"[The consulting firms] have experience designing large cities," said Luhut outside a meeting about the project at the State Palace attended by Joko Widodo, Tony Blair and Masayoshi Son.

Blair praised the project: "It’s going to be a project that doesn’t just mean creating a new capital city, but a capital city that is going to be very special in the way that it’s developed with a particular emphasis on it being clean and green and doing the very best for the environment, but also a capital city that will allow the economy of the country as a whole to develop and grow," he said, reports the Post.

The government hopes to conduct a "soft groundbreaking" this year to attract more private investment.

Image: Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed at the Qasr Al Watan Palace in Abu Dhabi in January 2020 (From the Twitter feed of President Joko Widodo)

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