Asian bank to help make Indonesia’s new capital “Nusantara” green and inclusive

President Joko Widodo and the First Lady took a camping trip to the site of the future new capital, “Nusantara”, on 14 March, conducting a ceremony at the planned city’s “ground zero” (Presidential Secretariat Photo by Laily Rachev/Public domain)
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has promised to help Indonesia make its planned new capital city in the rainforest of Borneo a “carbon-neutral and inclusive city”.

The new capital, which Indonesian President Joko Widodo named “Nusantara” in January, will be built in East Kalimantan province to replace Jakarta as the seat of the country’s national government.

Widodo plans for the government to be installed in the $32.7bn, yet-to-be-built city by 17 August 2024, Indonesia’s Independence Day, with defence, home and foreign ministries, and the state secretariat scheduled to move into their new buildings first, The Jakarta Post notes.

The president and first lady took a camping trip to the remote site earlier this month, where he conducted a ceremony at the city’s “ground zero”.

“ADB will help the Nusantara National Capital Authority (NNCA) design the new city, assess its potential environmental and social impacts, and mobilise financing from public and private sectors to support the city’s development,” the ADB said.

According to The Jakarta Post, the Indonesian state will cover 19% of the scheme’s cost, with the rest coming from public-private partnerships (PPPs) and private investments.

“Developing a brand-new city provides the unique opportunity to incorporate the latest thinking on what makes a city pleasant and efficient to live, work, and play,” said ADB regional vice president Ahmed M. Saeed. “ADB will share international lessons learned to help NNCA design and fund construction of the new capital.”

As a first step, ADB will help NNCA organise an international conference on carbon-neutral and inclusive cities.

On 10 March, Widodo appointed Bambang Susantono as chairman of the NNCA to lead the new city’s development. Formerly an acting transport minister in a previous Indonesian government, Susantono was most recently employed by the ADB itself as vice-president for knowledge management and sustainable development.

Susantono thanked his former employer for its “timely support as we move ahead with the development of Nusantara”.

“There is substantial experience in creating carbon-neutral and inclusive cities elsewhere, and we are keen to work with ADB to understand these experiences and incorporate lessons learned,” he said.

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