Indonesia Africa Business Forum 2018 (Photo: Ministry of Trade)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia’ state-owned companies will sign partnership deals with a number of African investors, official says. There are at least six to seven projects that will be signed in Bali next month during the Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialogue (IAID) to make its presence on the continent felt by expanding its trade and investment portfolio.

“The work includes a railway project in Madagascar and a mining project in Sudan,” Fajar Harry Sampurno, the SOE Ministry’s deputy for mining, strategic industries, and media, said in Jakarta, Wednesday, July 24.

The mining projects, Sampurno said, include tin, chrome, and gold, among others.

Sampurno said that Indonesia Eximbank, the national export financing institution, will also sign four agreements. He did not elaborate on the sectors, saying that it is still being discussed.

Last year, Indonesian SOEs have taken on projects in Africa. Among them are Wijaya Karya in Algeria and Nigeria, PT Timah in Nigeria, and aircraft producer Dirgantara Indonesia in Senegal.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan had said that Indonesia plans to open new markets in Africa. Indonesia could explore more avenues of mutually beneficial cooperation, he said, noting, for example, the possibility of coupling Indonesia’s nickel ore production with African nations that produce cobalt to produce lithium batteries.

“These kinds of cooperation [initiatives] will benefit both parties as well as maintain the environment and develop shared technologies,” he said. “The spirit of the relations between Indonesia and [countries in] Africa established since the Asia-Africa Conference in 1955 is very important – I see a lot of progress achieved from last year’s dialogue.”

Indonesia hosted the first Indonesia-Africa Dialogue in Bali in April last year, resulting in 10 business deals valued at US$586.56 million.

The agreements include partnerships established between Indonesia Eximbank and the African Export-Import Bank, Indonesia Eximbank and Standard Chartered Bank, PT Wijaya Karya (Wika) and the Cabinet Chief of the Republic of Niger, and PT Timah and Topwide Ventures, as well as Garuda Maintenance Facility (GMF) Aero Asia with Max Air and Ethiopian Airlines.

One of the other highlights of the forum was infrastructure, as both Indonesia and African nations regard this sector as a high priority for future development.

According to the 2017 Global Infrastructure Outlook, a report by the G20-initiated Global Infrastructure Hub, the investment needs for various infrastructure projects in Africa from 2016 to 2040 amount to $6 trillion, while Indonesia needs $1.7 trillion during the same period.

Slated to be held on Aug. 20 and 21 in Bali, the IAID will also raise the possibility of collaboration in connectivity, pharmaceuticals, tourism, energy, and mineral resources, and financing schemes, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

An estimated 700 participants will attend the event next month.

“In addition to participants from Indonesia, [the event will feature] delegates from 53 countries in Africa, both in government and from the private sector,” she said.

As a quick follow up on the IAID, Pandjaitan said he planned to visit the region at the end of September or early October to review the cooperation between state-owned train manufacturing company PT Industri Kereta Api Indonesia (INKA) and its partner companies in Africa.

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