The United Arab Emirates plans to develop a multimillion-dollar tourism resort in Indonesia’s Aceh province, as part of a raft of infrastructure projects planned in the Asian nation.
A series of business agreements were signed by the two nations on Friday following a visit by the Energy and Infrastructure Minister Suhail Al-Mazroui. The UAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday with the Republic of Indonesia to co-operate in the areas of creative economy, tourism, environmental conservation and logistics.
The tourism resort development project, which according to Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan is valued at between $300 million and $500 million, is expected to start in Aceh Singkil district in May.
“The UAE and Indonesia are exemplars of religious and cultural diversity, tolerance and moderation,” said Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, after the signing in Jakarta.
“These are the values that bind us together and enable us to co-operate for our common interests, especially in the sphere of creative economy, which is a pillar of sustainable economic growth.”
“As the world is going through a challenging time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to turn challenges into opportunities for innovation.”
According to Indonesian news agency Antara, the resort project in Aceh is being overseen by the UAE’s Murban Energy, which has already been involved in the development of luxury resorts in the Maldives and Seychelles.
The resort would be the first of its kind in Aceh; the westernmost province of Indonesia. It is located on the northern end of Sumatra, with Banda Aceh being its capital and largest city. Granted a special autonomous status, Aceh is a religiously conservative territory and the only Indonesian province practicing Sharia officially.
During a joint conference with Al-Mazroui, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said: “I think within two months’ time, we can see the progress of this project in the Singkil area.”
A regency in the Aceh province of Indonesia, Singkil is predominantly located on the island of Sumatra, but also covers the offshore Banyak Islands, which consists of 99 largely uninhabited islands.
The agreements are a part of a $22.9 billion deal signed during Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s Abu Dhabi visit in January last year. The investment deal, also covering energy, infrastructure and mining, is seen as the biggest in Indonesia’s history.
Al-Mazroui is the first high-level government official from the UAE to visit Indonesia since the signing of a bilateral safe travel corridor agreement in July last year.
He and members of his delegation are in Indonesia to attend a series of events during Indonesia-Emirati Amazing Week, held in Jakarta, Solo, Bandung and Surabaya on March 1-8.
Aceh is the place where the spread of Islam began, and the province has substantial natural resources of oil and natural gas.
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