07/01/2020, 10.36
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Indonesia, Covid-19: A new capital to stem economic crisis

A $ 33 billion project attracting investors from the Middle East and China. The new capital will rise in Borneo on an area of ​​256 thousand hectares. Projects for educational institutions, modern hospitals, botanical gardens and an eco-sustainable transport system.

Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Indonesian government is planning to build a new capital to boost the country's economy and private sector investments hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The announcement was confirmed by the prime minister who said President Joko Widodo wants to present a bill in Parliament to launch the plan.

The project, which has already attracted the attention of China and several Middle Eastern nations, will be  a "priority" with a total value of approximately $ 33 billion. The Minister for Planning Suharso Monoarfa, says the new capital should arise on the island of Borneo.

The proposal was first put forward last year by Jokowi (the president’s nickname), to alleviate the now chronic congestion in Jakarta. The current capital is also subject to frequent flooding, as part of it is located below sea level.

Monoarfa explained that the country needs a locomotive to drive the economy. The new capital plan "will create many jobs and will have a whole range of positive spin-offs" for the nation.

The Indonesian government has identified about 256 thousand hectares of land in East Kalimantan, Borneo, for a total area equal to four times the current size of Jakarta. The congested traffic in the capital, where about 30 million people live, causes losses of up to $ 7 billion a year in lost productivity. One of the objectives is to relaunch investments and projects outside the island of Java.

First-rate educational institutes, modern hospitals, botanical gardens and an eco-sustainable and environmentally friendly transport system are planned.

The project will be financed by private investors - including Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan - and public funds. Work was due to begin on the project in the last quarter of the year, but the coronavirus pandemic will cause a delay. The aim is to have the first migration of residents to the new capital by 2024 and the urban area will host no more than seven million people.

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