SEMARANG – Experts from Diponegoro University (UNDIP) in collaboration with Lincoln Institute of Land Policy based in Massachusetts, United States, and Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands initiated investment development in Free Trade and Free Port Area in Riau Islands. This international collaboration involving international experts has the full support of Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. Deputy Director of Undip Research Collaboration, Dr.-Ing. Wisnu Pradoto, S.T., M.T., said that, on Thursday (18/3/2021).

According to Wisnu, the team he leads will formulate a “Strategy for Accelerating Investment and Regional Development in the Riau Islands”. “The focus of its activities is Development of Free Trade Zones and Free Ports on Batam Island, Bintan Island, and Karimun Island,” said Wisnu Pradoto who is also a lecturer at Department of Regional and City Planning, Faculty of Engineering Undip.

The choice to focus on Batam, Bintan and Karimun through innovation in infrastructure financing, he said, is made to support industry development based on maritime resources and world-leading tourism. Riau Islands region needs to be developed into a global economic area, given the potential of the global value chain and its very strategic position in geo-economics, politics, and defense contexts. This activity is expected to create a new economic center across western Indonesia. Cooperation with Singapore and Malaysia will be directed towards building innovation excellence. In addition, the involvement of neighbor countries is also intended to attract foreign interest to invest in Batam, Bintan and Karimun areas.

Wisnu Pradoto revealed that the cooperation program carried out for a period of 3 years (2021-2024) is not only trying to build a regional development model but also applying non-conventional infrastructure development financing schemes to support regional preparation. It is hoped that the development of a maritime resource-based industry will be a comparative advantage for Riau Islands. In addition to make draft of development concepts and strategies, this cooperation program will also be filled with training and execution activities for land management and application of Land Value Capturing to fund the infrastructure development which will last for 4 consecutive years (2021-2024). The training will be conducted in the Netherlands, involving several government agencies and research centers.

As a start, in early November 2020, Dissemination and Workshop on Infrastructure Financing Strategies was hold in Semarang and attended by the management of Batam, Bintan, Karimun, Tanjungpinang Management Agencies as well as several Zone Council officials at the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs.