Indonesian President Joko Widodo tweeted on Thursday that he will move the country’s capital away from the crowded main island of Java to Borneo, and build a new capital, like Nigeria’s Abuja was built from 1976 when it was decreed into existence by late head of state General Murtala Ramat Mohammed.
Movement to Abuja happened in 1991 and today it is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.
The primary reasons for Abuja were the congestion in Lagos and the need to have a more central place as capital.
Indonesia is being propelled by a similar consideration.
It’s current capital, Jakarta, is home to more than 10 million people, but about three times that many people live in the surrounding towns adding to the area’s severe congestion. The low-lying city is also prone to air pollution and flooding, and is sinking.
Moving the Indonesian capital could take up to 10 years and cost about $20 billion to $30 billion, according to government officials.
Here are six other capital cities, apart from Abuja, that were moved for a range of reasons including overcrowding, security or to a more central location.
ASTANA – Often dubbed the world’s weirdest capital, the Kazakh capital was moved from Almaty in 1997. The urban plan was drawn up by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, and the city is known for its many futuristic buildings.
BRASILIA – Arguably the most famous planned city in the world, it was founded in 1960, and is famous for its modern architecture, chiefly designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the city is nevertheless dogged by an inadequate public transport, segregation, and neglected public spaces.
CANBERRA – The site for the capital was chosen as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities. Construction began in 1913, and after many delays, the Commonwealth parliament moved to Canberra in 1927. Despite its high standard of living, the city is little known overseas and little loved even within Australia.
ISLAMABAD – Built as a planned city in the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad was created from parts of the North-West Frontier Province and Punjab. It was Pakistan’s first city with a master plan, developed by a Greek architecture firm.
NAYPYIDAW – Myanmar’s capital was moved from Yangon to the center of the country in 2005. Covering 2,700 square miles – about four times the size of London – it features a 20-lane avenue, multiple golf courses and a replica of Yangon’s golden Shwedagon Pagoda. Yet, its wide streets are mostly empty, as relatively few people live there.
EGYPT – A new capital city – known for now as the New Administrative Capital – is scheduled to be operational from mid-2020, although the $58 billion project is struggling to raise funds. Expected to cover about 700 square kilometres (270 square miles), and is located about 45 km east of Greater Cairo in the desert. Besides a new presidential palace and a new parliament, it will also feature a massive theme park, housing for 6.5 million people and Africa’s tallest skyscraper.
Zambia’s mining ministry has asked Glencore subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to rescind its decision to close two shafts at its Nkana site.
Mopani announced the shaft closures on Thursday in a move that an opposition leader said had led to 1,400 job losses.
Mines Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda on Friday said he had written to Mopani to ask the company not to close the two shafts because it had not exhausted discussions with the government.
Chanda said the government had, among other suggestions, asked Mopani to hand over the running of the shafts to local contractors instead of closing them.
“We haven’t concluded talks with them,” Chanda told Reuters.
“Mopani can’t arbitrarily take a decision to shut the two shafts without the participation of the government.”
A Mopani spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment.
The closure of the two uneconomic shafts had always been part of its plans, Mopani said on Thursday, adding that the move would allow it to channel funds towards completion of other expansion projects.
Air Namibia says it will continue operating as usual, while denying reports that the national airline is on the verge of being closed down.
Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa said this in a statement issued in reaction to an article published under the headline "Air Namibia on death row" in The Namibian on Wednesday.
“The board of directors and management, together with consultants recently appointed by the shareholders, the government, are engaged in a process of re-evaluating the strategy and supporting Air Namibia's business model that will ensure the sustainability of the national airline as a going concern,” the statement said.
The statement further said the main reason for this exercise was to improve the airline's financial performance, enhance efficiency and cut costs on its route network.
Nakawa said the airline would continue offering services although the Cabinet committee on treasury has not yet made a decision on its future.
“We would like to extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to all our esteemed customers for their continued support during this most challenging time,” the statement said.
The Namibian reported on Wednesday that the national airline is facing imminent closure, which could cost the government around N$2,5 billion.
Credit: The Namibian