Exclusive: South Sulawesi wants more foreign investment

By Joshua Chambers

Interview with Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo.

They call him “Komandan”, and his slogan is quite simple: “Don’t Stop!”.

The Governor of South Sulawesi has seen his province “fare promisingly in governance and standard of living indicators, and has rightly increased its attractiveness to investors,” according to this year’s report by the Asian Competitiveness Institute.

Foreign investment has been his top priority, Syahrul Yasin Limpo tells GovInsider. “The government will assist all investors that come into the province.” South Sulawesi wants to become “the business hub for Eastern Indonesia, but it also wants to be the connecting hub for the entire Indonesian archipelago.”

Strategic hub

The province has a strategic position in the centre of Indonesia, with direct flights to most major cities in the nation.

The Governor believes South Sulawesi can provide food security for Indonesia, and the world. “That’s why we need to strengthen our agricultural sector, industry and exports.” South Sulawesi exports cacao, coffee, pepper; mining products; and other agricultural goods.

The province wants to build its connectivity through its airports, and through investments in the port. There are 12 airports in the province, and has both international and local flights. There is also a large new deep water seaport, and the only other two like it are in Java, he notes.

Smart Sulawesi

The province is rich in natural resources, but needs technology to underpin growth plans, he says. “We have incredible amounts of fish. We can plant whatever we like. We can have livestock on our land, and mining underground,” he notes, but “to strengthen our resources, we need technology”.

Makassar - South Sulawaesi’s capital - is rapidly becoming a smart city, led by Mayor Danny Pomanto. The city has an operations centre with live CCTV from across the capital; uses data to track government spending; and is fighting radicalisation through smartphones.

In the next year, the Governor wants even more infrastructure. “The investors like infrastructure,” he notes, and they would like to have several projects improving trains, plains, and irrigation systems.

The message is clear. Potential investors: welcome to the Gateway to Indonesia.