The United Arab Emirates is to develop several major infrastructure projects in Indonesia, including a multimillion-dollar tourism resort in its westernmost Aceh province, top Emirati and Indonesian ministers have confirmed.
A series of business agreements were signed by the two nations during a visit to Jakarta by UAE Energy and Infrastructure Minister Suhail Al-Mazroui on Friday, Al Arabiya English is reporting.
The agreements are part of an almost US$23 billion deal signed during Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s Abu Dhabi visit in January last year. The investment deal, also covering energy, infrastructure and mining, is seen as the biggest in Indonesia’s history.
The tourism resort development project, which according to Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan is valued at between US$300 million and US$500 million, is expected to start in Aceh Singkil district in May.
Aceh, a semi-autonomous province on the northwest tip of Sumatra island, is the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia that strictly imposes shariah law.
“I think within two months’ time, 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 revealed more details, in response to a question by Arab News, Al-Mazroui said that some islands off the main coast of Aceh have been identified for the resort.
The project agreement was signed by Aceh Governor Nova Iriansyah and Amine Abide, executive director of Murban Energy, a UAE company whose investment portfolio includes the development of luxury resorts in the Maldives and Seychelles.
According to a statement by the Indonesian ambassador to the UAE, Husin Bagis, one of the favourable considerations for developing the project in Aceh is that it is only a five-hour flight away from the UAE.
Among the agreements inked in Jakarta, which Al-Mazroui said are follow-ups to those signed in Abu Dhabi last year, is a US$1.2 billion deal between UAE’s logistics company Dubai Port World and Indonesia’s Maspion group to develop a port and an industrial zone in Gresik, East Java.
Other deals signed on Friday, Panjaitan said, included an agreement between Indonesia’s state-owned weapons manufacturer Pindad and UAE’s small-arms manufacturer Caracal to develop assault rifles, drones and defence technologies.
Al-Mazroui hinted that other deals may also follow in the wake of the newly forged economic ties between the UAE and Indonesia.