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‘Hurry up’: Amazon, Grab among global firms urged to invest in Indonesia

To attract investments, including tech behemoth Amazon and Singapore ride-hailing giant Grab, Indonesia has set its eyes on multinational corporations attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

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Updated: January 21, 2020

Indonesia has set its eyes on multinational corporations attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to attract investments, including tech behemoth Amazon and Singapore ride-hailing giant Grab.

Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Bahlil Lahadalia will have one-on-one meetings with eight global corporation leaders from Jan. 20 to 23 on the sidelines of the event, said the agency’s deputy director for investment climate development, Farah Ratnadewi Indriani.

“In a nutshell, the BKPM head will ask multinational companies to increase their existing investments in Indonesia — for those who have already invested,” Farah said in a press statement on Sunday. “For those who have not invested, the BKPM head will invite them to [Indonesia].”

BKPM’s efforts echo President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s drive to attract more investors to Indonesia, which is expected to help stoke stagnant economic growth.

Apart from Amazon and Grab, Bahlil will also meet leaders of the travel start-up Traveloka, Japanese financial services firm Mizuho, United Arab Emirates-based luxury hotel chain Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, Chinese dairy giant Yili Group, German engineering company Siemens Group and Japanese state-lender Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

The government will particularly “invite” financial institutions to join Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund, Farah said.

“Don’t be left behind, hurry up,” Farah said.

From January to September 2019, overall realized investment reached Rp 601.3 trillion (US$44 billion), a 12.3 percent increase year-on-year (yoy), BKPM data shows. Domestic investment grew 17.3 percent to Rp 283.5 trillion while foreign direct investment (FDI) rose 8.2 percent yoy to Rp 317.8 trillion.

Farah added that the agency would use the opportunity at WEF to boost investments from the EU. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands are currently the only European countries included in the list of Indonesia’s top 10 biggest investors, she said.

According to BKPM data, the European bloc’s investment realization in the third quarter last year was $2.8 billion, up 19.25 percent from $2.3 billion during the same period in 2018. Indonesia received around 15,770 projects from Europe between 2015 and the third quarter of 2019, the data revealed.

“We are challenging Europe: Don’t lose against Asian countries. We admit that European countries are more cautious [in investing],” said Farah, citing Singapore, Japan, China, Hongkong and South Korea as Asian countries that had dominated Indonesia’s foreign investment landscape.

The BKPM’s attempt to attract EU companies is happening in the backdrop of the bloc’s disputes with Indonesia over a ban on palm oil and nickel ore exports for most of 2019, characterized by tit-for-tat trade spats, tariffs and lawsuits. Indonesia is expected to meet the bloc around late January this year for consultations.

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The Jakarta Post
About the Author: The Jakarta Post is one of Indonesia's leading English-language daily newspapers.

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