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Indonesia’s Incredible Turnaround: How a Nickel Ban Is Changing the Game!



Indonesian President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, is leading a bold and innovative initiative to relocate the country’s capital from Jakarta, an overcrowded and declining city, to Kalimantan, located along the equator. This ambitious project, estimated at around $32 billion, involves the construction of a new capital, Nusantara, which means “archipelago” in Indonesian. The main objective is to develop a sustainable and zero-carbon emissions infrastructure, symbolizing the green and technologically advanced future that Indonesia aspires to represent.

Widodo’s project goes beyond a simple relocation of the seat of government. It aims to radically transform Indonesia’s economic and social geography, better distributing the population and economic resources. Jakarta is currently facing serious problems such as extreme overcrowding and rising sea levels, which threaten its very existence. On the other hand, Nusantara is envisioned as a modern metropolis, energy-efficient, rich in green areas, and technologically advanced, offering a significantly higher quality of life.

Despite the enthusiasm of Widodo and his supporters, the project has sparked criticism and skepticism. Some view it as an expensive whim, fearing that the promised benefits may not justify the enormous investment required. Others, however, see it as a unique opportunity to revitalize the country’s economy, diversifying its foundations and reducing dependence on Jakarta.

A significant aspect of Widodo’s tenure was his decision to ban the export of nickel ore in 2020, a move that has dramatically changed Indonesia’s mining and industrial sector. This policy has spurred many international companies to invest in local factories, positioning Indonesia as a leader in the electric vehicle and battery supply chain. This strategy has not only increased the added value of Indonesian exports but has also put the country in a strong position in the global market for essential raw materials for future technologies.

However, Widodo faces considerable challenges. Indonesia’s relationship with major world powers, particularly the United States and China, is complex, especially regarding nickel and the resulting geostrategic implications. Widodo must skillfully navigate these international dynamics, balancing economic interests with diplomatic needs.

Furthermore, domestically, Widodo must address both political and social pressures, including issues related to human rights and democracy. His ability to manage these internal challenges and maintain popular support will be crucial to the success of his ambitious project.

In conclusion, President Joko Widodo faces a monumental task. The realization of Nusantara is not just a matter of urban engineering and economic planning; it represents a symbol of Indonesia’s role in the modern world and Widodo’s vision for the future of his country. His legacy and, to some extent, Indonesia’s economic future will depend on the success of this bold project.

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