Blessed with a wealth of natural resources that include much sought-after minerals used in making batteries, Indonesia is poised to become a significant destination of foreign investment. The Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is the agency that liaises between businesses and government to streamline the investment process and channel the funds towards projects that will foment economic development, industrialization and the formation of a knowledge-based economy. BKPM Chairman Bahlil Lahadalia discusses the opportunities opening up, especially for investors from the UAE, a nation that already has strong cultural and business ties with Indonesia
Can you provide an update on how the world’s largest floating solar project, located in West Java, is attracting more investment from the UAE?
The UAE’s cooperation with Indonesia on the Cirata floating solar plant, which is a partnership between the renewable energy and sustainable urban development company Masdar and Indonesia’s state utility PLN, represents one of the biggest such initiatives in Southeast Asia, and BKPM will be providing frontline support throughout the process.
What are the prospects for increasing Halal tourism and for helping the UAE’s Jumeirah Group expand here?
I think that there is a lot of potential to attract our friends from the UAE due to the cultural ties between both countries and also because there is a lot of premium space in Indonesia to develop projects involving Halal tourism. Besides this sector, Indonesia also has a lot of natural resources, magnificent landscapes, and a start-up sector, which is very important for connecting with young entrepreneurs. I think we need to synergize these resources, as this will be beneficial for both sides.
There will be an estimated 25 million people at the World Expo Dubai, and Indonesia has a huge pavilion. What is your message to the world?
Indonesia has changed under President Joko Widodo, there’s been a lot of regulatory change, and the government is working hard to ensure that investors will get a quick, efficient response to their needs. There is no doubt about the potential of this country: we have thousands of islands, thousands of kilometers of shoreline, a population of 267 million, representing 43% of the population of Southeast Asia, and 60% of our population is of productive age. I also want to underscore that we have important natural resources such as nickel: 25% of the world’s stock is in Indonesia. In the future, the green economy will grow in importance and Indonesia has the potential to be the headquarters for battery-making companies, as 80% of battery materials, chiefly nickel, cobalt and manganese, are found here. We are sure that we will have lots of FDI coming into Indonesia, and we welcome investors from all over the world.