Companies should monitor Jakarta’s flood prevention initiatives to determine whether the new governor can affect change.
A recent deluge in Indonesia, which drove over 100,000 people from their homes and brought much of Jakarta to a standstill, has drawn significant attention to the country’s infrastructure deficit. For the second time in six years, Indonesians in the nation’s capital found themselves underwater as a result of a neglected drainage system.
Jakarta’s new governor Joko Widodo (a.k.a. “Jokowi”) aims to put things right by making flood prevention a priority. According to media reports, his administration plans to normalize 13 rivers running through the capital and dredge all its dams and lakes. He has also announced plans to conduct a wide-ranging audit and require all buildings in the city to have infiltration wells.
Jokowi certainly has his work cut out for him. He will have to plow through the entrenched interests and bureaucracy that have traditionally slowed infrastructure development in Indonesia if he is to put these plans into action. With this in mind, companies and investors should monitor his progress.
If Jakarta’s governor is able to implement his proposed flood prevention measures, this will suggest that some of the barriers that have traditionally hindered infrastructure development in Indonesia are beginning to fall. If he is not, then it is unlikely that infrastructure development in the capital will accelerate anytime soon. After all, if a wildly popular governor can’t install flood prevention systems in the wake of a devastating deluge, what hope is there for the rest of Jakarta’s infrastructure?