Interview: Isran Noor

How has the local government responded to the decision to move Indonesia’s capital city from Jakarta to East Kalimantan?

ISRAN NOOR: The government of East Kalimantan welcomes the decision to select East Kalimantan as Indonesia’s new capital city. This is an honour and it will be a boon to the country by accelerating and ensuring equal development across all regions. We are working alongside all city governments to assist in the relocation plan. In 2020 we conducted regulatory and institutional preparations, developed a master plan for the project and commenced regional technical planning. In 2021 we plan to allocate the land, prepare the regional detailed engineering design and inaugurate the new capital city.

How will East Kalimantan’s recent economic performance provide a foundation for future growth?

NOOR: Against a backdrop of global trade disputes, East Kalimantan’s economy grew by 4.77% in 2019, up from 2.67% the previous year. This has largely been attributed to improved business performance. The electricity and gas sector recorded the highest growth rate, at 8.65%, followed by service-based businesses (8.16%), health care services and social activity (6.99%), mining and quarrying (6.89%), and ICT (6.86%). We hope that the emergence of new business sectors and the relocation of the capital city will greatly contribute to East Kalimantan’s economic performance and growth in the years to come.

What are the key medium-term priorities for the development of East Kalimantan?

NOOR: Under the Medium-Term Regional Development Plan 2018-23, East Kalimantan’s vision is to become a self-reliant province and promote sustainable development. We are targeting five key aims: developing competitive human resources, especially for young women and people with disabilities; empowering a fair and democratic economy; meeting regional infrastructure needs; managing natural resources sustainably; and offering professional and public-oriented government services.

In what ways can East Kalimantan ensure that natural resource extraction and infrastructure development is done sustainably?

NOOR: One of our key aims is to be self-reliant in meeting regional infrastructure needs and managing natural resources sustainably. We acknowledge that extracting natural resources does not guarantee a long-term income, but we allow the ongoing extraction of available resources at a rate that will not rapidly deplete these natural assets, while also building downstream industrial zones, constructing transport infrastructure and developing our human resources.

Which other segments are standout opportunities for growth in East Kalimantan?

NOOR: We will continue to target the development of tourism. The region has vast tourism potential with cultural and heritage sites, as well as natural landscapes. We have also prioritised the growth of the agriculture industry. This will be guided by the Agricultural Development Strategy, led by the Department of Food, Crops and Horticulture. Under the roadmap, key goals for boosting crop yield include increasing the production and added value of rice and cassava; improving the quality of all crops by implementing good agricultural practices; diversifying the crops; maintaining existing land, and repairing and provisioning agricultural facilities and infrastructure; and constructing rice centres in each district. Additionally, we aim to promote farmer education and technological development by improving partnerships with stakeholders, developing adaptive farming techniques to respond to changes in climate and implementing eco-friendly cultivation technology.