Interview: Tri Rismaharini

Which infrastructure investments are necessary to improve East Java’s connectivity?

TRI RISMAHARINI: Urban infrastructure development is extremely important. Citizens not only need jobs and food, but also an even distribution of energy supply, sanitation, housing, waste management and clean water. If these facilities are not prepared, specific cities will have extremely dense populations. Future policy tools must focus on these areas in order to effectively reduce regional disparities. Moreover, access from the Trans-Java toll road to housing, industrial, and trading areas needs to be improved to allow for a more integrated urban space. It is also important to mitigate the impact of global warming in terms of preparing infrastructure for flood management and preventing the rise of sea levels, given the fact that many big cities in Indonesia are situated along the coastal line.

How can Surabaya’s port facilities help transform Indonesia into a global maritime axis?

RISMAHARINI: The port of Tanjung Perak has offered inter-island services that are arguably much better than that of Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok. Surabaya is located in a strategic position, thus it plays a crucial role for sea transport transit not only within Indonesia, but also throughout Asia and on the global stage. In addition, Surabaya’s ports are equipped with complete facilities, including technology support. The facilities available have enabled our ports to accommodate the anchoring of big ships. With the development of various ports across the archipelago to help Indonesia become a global maritime fulcrum, the port of Tanjung Perak has therefore taken on a crucial role in enabling Indonesia to achieve its bold objective.

Which sectors of Surabaya’s economy are poised for growth in the short to medium term?

RISMAHARINI: In particular, trade and services are key economic sectors to be further developed in Surabaya. In this regard, Surabayan citizens are strongly encouraged to become entrepreneurs because our market actually encompasses not only the 3m people living in Surabaya, but also the 38m population of East Java and the 100m of eastern Indonesia. Taking into account this big market potential, the Surabaya city government has provided training for citizens to become smart entrepreneurs by capitalising on technology and being able to manage their own business cash flows.

What measures is Surabaya taking to advance knowledge transfer and strengthen vocational training across industries?

RISMAHARINI: Programmes for human resource development in Surabaya started in 2010, initiated with the provision of free education from kindergarten to high school. This initiative is also in line with the government’s vision to make human capital development a major priority in order to become more competitive internationally. Therefore, the Surabaya city government does not only focus on academic development, but also on encouraging children to develop their non-academic skills based on their respective interests and talents. Therefore, if we pay serious attention to their talent development, we are positive that they will be able to compete on both a national and international level.

How are the authorities working to develop Surabaya as a tourist destination?

RISMAHARINI: To date, Surabaya has a developed urban tourism sector, which offers various facilities including meetings, incentives, conferences and events spaces. The good governance, cleanliness, beauty and safety of the city enables Surabaya to develop into a metropolis known for prosperous trade and service tourism. Surabaya also serves as a bridge to other tourism destinations across East Java, such as Mount Bromo, Baluran National Park and Banyuwangi.