Indonesia is a major stakeholder of the BRI; it is in this country that Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned, for the first time, the renaissance of the maritime silk roads in 2013. Since then, several BRI projects have been been launched in the archipelago. A high-speed line connecting Jakarta and Bandung will therefore be built by a consortium led by China Railway Group. Another project is the construction of a dam in Borneo.
Other projects will soon begin as planne by Indonesian authorities. Jakarta has proposed to Beijing to participate in some $91 billion worth BRI projects.
But more importantly, Jakarta has offered specific and innovative solutions to improve BRI governance. In a meeting with the Chinese president at the Osaka G20 summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, re-elected in April 2019, proposed the creation of a special fund for BRI projects in Indonesia. This fund would offer low-rate loans for investment made in Indonesia in partnership with local companies.
China has not yet communicated about its possible intervention in this fund. However, this announcement from Jakarta is very interesting and demonstrates Indonesia’s willingness to participate in the BRI.
The BRI is no longer seen exclusively as a Chinese project, but as a multilateral initiative in which each party can formulate proposals to improve its realisation.
The funding of some of BRI’s early projects has been criticized, particularly in the case of Sri Lanka, but today, China and other BRI member states are to develop more innovative financing solutions. If the Indonesian project is adopted and successful, similar funds may be launched in other BRI countries.
With this fund, Indonesia shows support to the Belt and Road Initiative. China expects more private companies and international banks to finance BRI infrastructure projects, This Indonesian goes in the right direction as it will boost private sector’s participation in the BRI.
Furthermore, managing this fund would require great transparency, and thus this would respond to some criticisms made to the BRI in its early years. This possible fund would both modernize Indonesian infrastructure and improve the structure of China’s Silk Roads , leading to a “win-win partnership.”