Kalimantan: Indonesia to move capital from Jakarta to Borneo Island

Government of Indonesia has announced to move its current capital from Jakarta (on the island of Java) to the sparsely populated East Kalimantan (on Borneo island). Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has announced that his government plans to build smart, green capital city on Borneo island. However, t some environmentalist groups fear $33billion relocation plan of capital city may put further pressure on Borneo island’s rainforest dwelling species like the orangutan.

Reasons for shifting of capital city

Indonesia’s current capital, Jakarta, is home to more than 10 million people. It climate-threatened megacity as it has some of the world’s worst air pollution and traffic congestion. Poor urban planning has left 40% of the city below sea level.

The shifting of capital city is part of a broader strategy to decentralise Indonesia’s economic growth as Jakarta is home to 60% of the country’s population and accounts for over half of its economic activity.

Kalimantan is almost four times bigger that Jakarta, but accounts for less than a tenth of the gross domestic production (GDP). It is also much more central in Indonesia’s archipelago of 17,000 islands.

Borneo Island

It is the third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. It is home to some of the world’s greatest tropical rainforests. It is politically divided among three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei (see map below). Kalimantan is Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo and it comprises 73% of island’s geographic area.

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