Jakarta. The Indonesian government will hire two consulting firms from the United States and Japan to get involved in designing the new capital city in East Kalimantan, the chief investment minister said on Friday.
The remarks by Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan came shortly after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met with former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair and SoftBank Group chief executive Masayoshi Son at the State Palace in Central Jakarta. Both prominent figures are members of the so-called advisory board for the capital city project.
Luhut said the government will hire U.S. infrastructure firm Aecom and Japanese urban city design consulting firm Nikken Sekkei.
“The Bappenas (National Development Planning Agency) has already hired McKinsey, and now we have Nikken Sekkei from Japan recruited by Masayoshi, and the third is from the U.S., Aecom,” Luhut told reporters at the State Palace.
“They are hired as consultants in designing [the capital city] because they have experience in building big cities,” Luhut said.
The project will build the world’s first 21st century capital city which brings together the latest technologies for modern living and environment preservation, Son said in a separate press conference with Blair.
“We have to always look at the total picture: what is the risk and what is the excitement? We have to take the total balance,” Son said as he explained his concept for the new city.
Artificial intelligence and the “internet of things” will be employed in the new capital, while green areas will occupy a lot of spaces, he added.
“So far the discussion is going into the right direction,” he said.
Blair said his role is to use his contacts to recruit the best people and entities around the world to take part in the project.
“You create something that is absolutely and indentifiably the capital of Indonesia, but it’s also somewhere where people from around the world want to contribute because they see this is an exciting project,” Blair said.
He said his role is “very much about trying to make sure that the best people are brought to be part of this project”.
The Rp 466 trillion ($33 billion) capital city project will occupy an area of 256,000 hectares located in North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara districts, with the majority of the lands being spared for green zones.
Jokowi has recruited prominent figures in the advisory board to increase confidence among global investors willing to take part in the project. Apart from Blair and Son, the board also involves Abu Dhabi's crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Jokowi announced the plan to relocate the capital from the crowded, flood-prone Jakarta last August, after he was assured of a second term in presidency.