Sweden Offers to Solve Jakarta’s Traffic Problems During PM Visit

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt offered to help solve Jakarta’s seemingly incurable traffic problems during his visit to the capital on Wednesday, reports the Jakarta Globe.

“We have a lot of experience in this, [and we know] how to do it in a smart way — how to control traffic in a way that you lose less time waiting for other cars to move. This is a problem throughout the world,” Reinfeldt told a joint press conference with Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after their bilateral meeting at Merdeka Palace.

Reinfeldt added that longer traffic jams in Jakarta were inevitable given Indonesia’s rapid economic growth.

Although the prime minister did not specifically explain how Sweden might contribute to resolving Jakarta’s traffic woes, he said investments in the public transport sector, including in the development of railways and highways, were needed.

Reinfeldt, however, also expressed Sweden’s interest to deepen its partnership with Indonesia’s growing automotive sector, although he put emphasis on developing “sustainable industries.”

“We are very knowledgeable [about sustainable industries] and keen to find global partners. [This] morning we visited Astra International [Indonesia’s largest auto company].” Reinfeldt said.

After his meeting with Yudhoyono, Reinfeldt visited the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta with Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo and saw the aerial view of the surrounding area from the top of the structure.

Joko said, quoting the prime minister, that Sweden wanted to help Jakarta with its waste and water management, as well.

“The issues will be further discussed with the Swedish ambassador to Indonesia. We will also discuss a SymbioCity [a Swedish method to urban development] partnership between Sweden and Jakarta,” Joko said after the Monas tour.

Joko said he told Reinfeldt that as a new governor, he needed assistance in managing Jakarta.

“We need a lot of help from outside; we need deeper [international] partnerships,” Joko said, citing his remarks to Reinfeldt.

The traffic jam issue was not specifically discussed with Joko.

Reinfeldt brought along with him 30 representatives from various Swedish businesses, including the banking industry, as well as officials from Swedish governmental agencies specializing in innovation, entrepreneurship and export financing.

During the press conference, he highlighted Sweden’s interest in Indonesian markets, noting the opening of Swedish furniture company Ikea’s first Indonesia location in 2014.

Reinfeldt’s two-day Jakarta visit is the first official visit made by a Swedish prime minister to Indonesia since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1952.

He arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday night and is expected to return to Sweden on Thursday.

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