Banking: Indonesia in the sweet spot
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Banking: Indonesia in the sweet spot

Photo: Getty

Indonesia is one of the world’s brighter prospects right now: growth, demographics, infrastructure momentum, inflation under control, more equity raised in the first quarter in Jakarta than New York. Banks are positioning to benefit – while keeping an eye on next year’s elections.

Euromoney is in Eastern Kalimantan, Indonesia, inland from the port of Balikpapan. Here, at a clearing they’re calling Ground Zero – they might need to work on that branding – we are looking at the place from which a new capital city will spring.

It doesn’t look much now: there is a little makeshift pavilion filled with canvases showing what a grand future parliament will look like, and explaining how sewage treatment and highways will appear, while some steps lead down to a bold white sign saying TITIK NOL NUSANTARA (Ground Zero of Nusantara, the name of the new capital, though it is more widely referred to now by the shorthand IKN).

There is the beep of reversing trucks, graders clearing and flattening land among the jungle and palms, a few local tourists with sun umbrellas for the intense heat and humidity.

Today, it seems obtusely remote, after a two-hour journey along a bouncy and winding road that is single-lane for much of its length, caught behind sluggish Pertamina tankers struggling with the high gradients, among corrugated metal rooves and open-fronted stores full of bananas, timber and rice.



Chris Wright head.jpg
Asia correspondent Euromoney
Chris Wright is Euromoney’s Asia correspondent. He covers the Asia Pacific region and is based in Singapore. He has previously been Middle East editor of Euromoney, editor of Asiamoney, investment editor of the Australian Financial Review and a correspondent on emerging markets and sovereign wealth for numerous publications worldwide. He has also written three books.
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