Ridwan Kamil has been the Mayor of Bandung since 2013. He recently spoke with the BritCham Communications Team about his future plans for Bandung and international relations with the UK.
What’s your agenda for the coming years for Bandung’s infrastructure?
Bandung is the third largest city in Indonesia with a total population of 2.5 million, this raises to 6 million if you’re including the greater area. The GDP of Bandung is 6%, the highest rate in Indonesia. Indeed, we are facing many new challenges particularly in infrastructure, which is why this will be an area of heavy focus for the next 10 years. We carry on our efforts to provide more public transport options, such as the LRT and Cable Car. Not only that, but we are also preparing the electric bus and bike. To make this happen, the government has continued to build public facilities, such as flyovers, public-housing, and online portals.
There has been a strong push for the tourism industry – what is Bandung doing/has done in terms of promoting tourism?
As the major tourism destination in West Java, tourists from both domestic and international locations reaches 6 million annually. A joint initiative with the central government namely “Wonderful Indonesia” is continuously sustained through the re-branding and improvement of sectors that are greatly associated with tourism. Furthermore, we feel it is our responsibility to preserve and develop the nature of West Java. Promotion is carried out in ASIA countries, China, ASEAN, Middle East, Europe and the UK. We aim to make the tourism industry a significant pillar of the economy. Alongside with promotional activities, mice
infrastructure is being built so that people not only visit Bandung for leisure purposes, but also business meetings/trips.
You recently signed an agreement with Mara for 200 trade stalls in Malaysia. Could you tell us more about this project?
Brand Bandung is very popular in Malaysia. We previously conducted a study regarding our local products amongst Malaysians. The result was greatly positive in terms of quality and price competitiveness. Thus, we signed an agreement with the Malaysian organisations namely “MARA” recently to create a special area called “Little Bandung” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Little Bandung will have 20 flagship stores with Bandung’s local products as the main display.
What can British Business do to assist in the future?
Indeed, assistance is significant to boost our objectives. We need a guidance on location access and property that we can use in the UK to sell our local products. Secondly, we are attempting to build a similar concept of infrastructure in the UK which is recognised as a public private partnership. Our budget is Rp 60T, which has already been allocated for infrastructure. We hope that the British Chamber of Commerce can be actively involved in developing Bandung with regards to all aspects.
Corruption – we understand corruption is a big issue in Indonesia. What do you think is the best way to tackle this issue?
We signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Collaboration with KPK to combat the corruption which occurs in our institution. One of the initiatives is known as e-gratification where people can report whether someone received some kind of bribe. A second critical effort is to shift the conventional administration management to online system management. This proves very successful in reducing corruption issues. E-budgeting is one of the breakthroughs as well. Technology is my primary approach to manage the government. Currently, our online system is ranked 1st
in Indonesia, that’s why we are very keen to improve our system. We are giving permission to other cities in applying ours if they would like to.
According to OECD, the highest rate of unemployment is between the ages of 18-25. The most productive age are facing a difficult time to find a job in Indonesia. What is your view and what is the best way in solving this issue?
The first is that in Bandung, we are promoting vocational school (SMK) more, we are expecting them to get their chances to enter the labor market more readily. Secondly, we are promoting entrepreneurship. Bandung itself has a target within three years to create 100,000 new entrepreneurs. Considering new entrepreneurs, the government will be proactive, such as providing training, granting capital, and assisting them to promote their products digitally. That way we can reduce unemployment.
Interview by BritCham Communications Team (Anka, Irena, and Chris Cook-Former Intern)