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Indonesia names new capital on different island to replace sinking Jakarta as parliament backs move

Indonesia’s capital is set to be moved from Jakarta on Java to a different island deep within the jungle after parliament approved a new bill.

The name for the new capital will be Nusantara, which translates as “archipelago”, and was chosen by the country’s president Joko Widodo.

The relocation to the jungle of Kalimantan on Borneo island will start between 2022 and 2024, with roads and ports being prioritised to allow access, the finance ministry confirmed.

The president first announced his plan in 2019, but it was delayed due to COVID.


No timeframe has been set for the project to be finished and Jakarta will remain the capital until a presidential decree is issued to formalise the change.

Jakarta in Indonesia is prone to flooding

Planning minister Suharso Monoarfa told parliament after the bill was passed into law: “The new capital has a central function and is a symbol of the identity of the nation, as well as a new centre of economic gravity.”

He also said Indonesia would be following in the footsteps of new capitals in other countries, including Brazil and Myanmar.

More on Indonesia

He said: “The relocation of the capital city to Kalimantan is based on several considerations, regional advantages, and welfare. With the vision of the birth of a new economic centre of gravity in the middle of the archipelago.”

Indonesia sets sights on becoming ‘super hub’

The government said in a statement that the new capital is set to strengthen supply chains and put Indonesia “in a more strategic position in world trade routes, investment flows, and technological innovation”.

Indonesia, which is southeast Asia’s largest economy, wants the new capital to be a low-carbon “super hub” that will help support pharmaceutical, health and technology sectors and promote sustainable growth beyond Java island.

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Feb 2021: Drone shows extensive flooding in Jakarta

Concerns have been growing over Jakarta as it is prone to flooding due to being located on top of swampy land near the sea.

The World Economic Forum said it was also one of the fastest-sinking cities on the planet.

This has caused the city to start dropping into the Java Sea due to over-extraction of groundwater.

Jakarta is also one of the world’s most overpopulated urban regions as it is home to more than 10 million people and has around 30 million in the greater metropolitan area, according to the UN.


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