A tribute was given by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Indonesia in establishing the name of a main road section in the center of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. One of the roads there is named President Joko Widodo Street and was inaugurated on Monday (19/10/2020) at around 4:45 p.m. local time by Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office.

The inclusion of President Joko Widodo’s name reflects the close relationship between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as a form of respect for the United Arab Emirates Government to President Joko Widodo in advancing bilateral relations between the two countries. “Hopefully the naming of President Joko Widodo’s Road in Abu Dhabi will further strengthen and increase the positive exposure of the bilateral relations between Indonesia and the UAE, which have become stronger lately,” said the Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE Husni Bagir as quoted by a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

President Joko Widodo Street is located on one of the main roads, which divides ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center) and the Embassy Area, an area that is occupied by a number of diplomatic representative offices. The name of this street was previously Al Ma’arid Street which connected Rabdan Street with Tunb Al Kubra Street. President Joko Widodo, through his account on the social media platform Twitter and his Instagram account @jokowi, which was uploaded on Tuesday (20/10/2020) hopes that this can strengthen relations between the two countries. “Behind the name of the street, there is hope that relations between the two countries will be stronger and more beneficial for the people,” said the President.

Street names in Abu Dhabi are generally geographic names that reflect the mainland history of the street’s location while preserving the culture and identity of the UAE’s second largest city after Dubai. However, the Government of Abu Dhabi in 2013 changed the names of a number of main streets in Abu Dhabi to the names of the great leaders of Abu Dhabi. Such as the names Fatima Bint Mubarak Street, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street, Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Street, Khalifa Bin Zayed First Street, Sultan Bin Zayed First Street, Shakhbout Bin Sultan Street, Mubarak Bin Mohammad Street, and Salama Bint Butti Street.

Apart from being the capital city of the country, Abu Dhabi is also part of the seven emirates in the UAE, one of the countries with the highest per capita income in the Middle East region. As reported on the World Bank website, the per capita income of the UAE population in 2019 reached USD43,100 (IDR 629.26 million).

Not the First Time

The UAE government has also changed street names in Abu Dhabi to the names of leaders of friendly countries. This was done on 23 September 2019 when they inaugurated King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street as the name of one of the main roads in the City of Abu Dhabi. This is a form of respect for the contribution of King Salman to the Islamic world and to strengthen bilateral relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

However, Jokowi is not the first Indonesian figure to be immortalized as a street name in a neighboring country. President Soekarno has previously been immortalized as a street name in the heart of the Moroccan capital, Rabat. The capital city of Egypt, Cairo also has a street called President Soekarno. Likewise in Peshawar, Afghanistan. In addition there is a street called the first Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia Mohammad Hatta, which is immortalized in Haarlem, the Netherlands.

Then there is the name of the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Indonesia Sutan Syahrir, who became the name of the streets in the City of Leiden and Gouda in the Land of Windmills. The name of the female emancipation fighter Raden Ajeng Kartini has also become the name of a street in the country nicknamed the Land of the Windmills, to be precise in the cities of Venlo, Utrecht, and Haarlem. RA Kartini struggled when Indonesia was still called the Dutch East Indies.

The name of the activist and former Executive Director of Imparsial Munir Said Thalib was also immortalized as the name of a small street in The Hague. Munir died in 2004 while on a Garuda Indonesia flight to Schipol Airport, the Netherlands.

Positive Trends

The relationship between Indonesia and the UAE has grown closer in recent years. The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) noted that during 2015-2019 the value of UAE investment in Indonesia had progressed. In 2015, the UAE invested USD 19.3 million or IDR 281.76 trillion at an exchange rate of IDR 14,600 per dollar. The investment increased a year later to USD55 million (IDR 803 trillion). In 2017, the investment value of the UAE declined to USD26.6 million (IDR 388.36 trillion) as a result of the recession due to the drop in oil and gas prices in the Middle East region.

However, in 2018 that figure skyrocketed again to the point of USD69.9 million (IDR1,020.54 trillion) followed by 2019 when the BKPM recorded an investment of USD69.7 million (IDR1,017.62 trillion), as quoted from the statement of the Coordinating Minister for Sector. Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, on October 1, 2020. In fact, the UAE’s investment in Indonesia is the highest compared to other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

The improvement of bilateral and economic relations between Indonesia and the UAE cannot be separated from President Jokowi’s efforts to take advantage of the investment opportunities the UAE offers to countries in the world. Moreover, the UAE is known to be aggressively investing in the non-oil and gas sector as an effort to rid themselves of dependence on oil and natural gas even though each year on average it contributes 33 percent to the UAE’s national revenue. On September 13, 2015, President Jokowi visited Abu Dhabi for the first time and had time to visit Lulu Supermarket accompanied by its owner, Yusuf Ali. One of the fruits of the visit was the opening of the first branch of the Lulu Supermarket retail network in Indonesia, located in Cakung, East Jakarta, in May 2016. Lulu Supermarket, which is under Lulu Group International, has opened four of its stores in Indonesia and is preparing to open a fifth branch in the Cinere area. Depok, or being the 193rd Lulu Supermarket network in the world.

Then on July 24, 2019, President Jokowi welcomed the arrival of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Bogor Palace, West Java. At that time, the President even picked up Sheikh Mohamed up the flight steps at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, Jakarta.

Not only just visiting, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed also brought investment worth IDR136 trillion for 12 projects in Indonesia. Apart from that, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi also gifted a large mosque to be built in Solo City, the birthplace of the president. The Crown Prince designed the three-hectare place of worship himself, following the example of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the most beautiful mosque in the world.

Finally, when Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed invited the President to make a state visit to the UAE in January 2020. As reported by www.indonesia.go.id, Saturday (25/1/2020), the President witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation worth more than USD22.89 billion. (IDR 334,194 trillion). The cooperation includes 11 business agreements and the other 5 are inter-governmental cooperation. Not only that, the President has also asked Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Development of the New Capital in East Kalimantan.

Source : Indonesia


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