JAKARTA: The UAE will develop several major infrastructure projects in Indonesia, including a multi-million dollar resort in its westernmost province of Aceh, top Emirati and Indonesian ministers confirmed.
The two nations signed a series of trade agreements during a visit to Jakarta by UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al-Mazroui on Friday. The deals are part of a $ 22.9 billion deal signed during Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit to Abu Dhabi in January last year. The investment agreement, which also covers energy, infrastructure and mining, is considered the largest in Indonesian history.
The resort development project, which according to Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, is valued between $ 300 million and $ 500 million, is expected to start in Aceh Singkil district in May.
Aceh, a semi-autonomous province in the extreme northwest of the island of Sumatra, is the only Muslim-majority Indonesian region that enforces Sharia.
“I think that within two months, we can see the progress of this project in the Singkil area,” Pandjaitan said during a joint conference with Al-Mazroui.
While authorities have not released further details, in response to a question from Arab News, Al-Mazroui said that some islands off the main Aceh coast have been identified for the complex.
“Hopefully the team will finish it and then we move on to the next stage of having some final agreements,” he said.
The project agreement was signed by Aceh Governor Nova Iriansyah and Amine Abide, CEO of Murban Energy, a UAE company whose investment portfolio includes the development of luxury resorts in the Maldives and Seychelles.
According to a statement from the Indonesian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Husin Bagis, one of the considerations for developing the project in Aceh is that it is only five hours from the United Arab Emirates by plane. He said that Abide had visited nine islands in Aceh Singkil district that were shortlisted for the project.
Among the agreements signed in Jakarta, which Al-Mazroui says are a continuation of those signed in Abu Dhabi last year, is a $ 1.2 billion agreement between the UAE logistics company Dubai Port (DP) World and the Indonesian Maspion group to develop a port and industrial zone in Gresik, East Java.
Other deals signed on Friday, Panjaitan said, included an agreement between Indonesian state arms maker Pindad and UAE small arms maker Caracal to develop assault rifles, drones and defense system technologies.
LuLu Group International is also expected to enter the Southeast Asian country, as its chief executive officer also signed a property lease agreement on Friday to open a hypermarket on the outskirts of Jakarta.
Minister Al-Mazroui hinted that other deals may also follow in the wake of the newly forged economic ties between the UAE and Indonesia.
“Some new deals have been considered, which were not discussed before, and this is the nature of the relationship,” he said.
Al-Mazroui is the first senior government official from the United Arab Emirates to visit Indonesia since signing a bilateral safe travel corridor agreement in July last year.
He and members of his delegation are in Indonesia to attend a series of events during the Amazing Indonesia-Emirati Week, which took place in Jakarta, Solo, Bandung and Surabaya from March 1-8.