The $1bn joint investment fund (JIF) by Qatar and Indonesia, which was reactivated by state leaders in 2015, is nearing its final stages, and is expected to fund major infrastructure and energy projects, an official has said.
Special envoy to the Indonesian president for Middle East Affairs Dr Alwi Abdurrahman Shihab said Indonesia’s share of the JIF (15%) “is ready.” He also said the government is just waiting for the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to select from several projects Indonesia has prepared to start the JIF.
“This joint investment fund should be, as soon as we can, made into a reality because the Indonesians have already provided four to five projects to be picked by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in order for us to show the Indonesian people that the investment is there,” Shihab said during a meeting with Qatar Chamber vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari on Sunday.
“The reactivation of the joint investment fund in 2015 is a manifestation to improve the economic cooperation between Qatar and Indonesia. It will be utilised in infrastructure, roads, power plants, ports, mining, and communications. Negotiations are underway,” Shihab told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the meeting.
The JIF was set up in 2008 but was “shelved for a number of factors,” Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno LP Marsudi said last year during the Indonesia-Qatar Business and Investment Forum in Doha.
For the JIF, Qatar will provide 85% of the funds, while Indonesia will shoulder 15%, Shihab said. He said the JIF is also a response to Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s thrust to improve Indonesia’s infrastructure.
During his state visit to Qatar in 2015, Widodo encouraged the Qatari government and its business community to invest in Indonesia’s mega projects that are now in the pipeline, including 24 new seaports, 15 new airports, 2,630km of new roads, 35,000MW power plants, and mass rapid transportation systems in as many as 23 cities.
Widodo said the major projects will complement Indonesia’s aim to establish the country as a manufacturing and production hub. He added that Indonesia has allocated $21bn from its 2016 national budget for infrastructure projects.
Kuntum Khaira Ummah, third secretary at the Indonesian embassy in Doha, said Qatari investments in Indonesia include those by the QIA ($1bn), Nebras Power ($750mn), QNB (around $1.6mn), and Ooredoo.
Shihab also invited Qatari businessmen to visit Indonesia and participate in the 31st Trade Expo Indonesia 2016 from October 12 to 16 in Jakarta.
For his part, Qatar Chamber vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari encouraged the Indonesian business community to explore opportunities in Qatar. He said: “This is the right time to visit Qatar because the state is looking for new investors,” he said.