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Indonesian youth seize opportunities through BRI cooperation
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Indonesian youth seize opportunities through BRI cooperation

Yoga Mahnitra's day unfolds in an aluminum factory in Pinglu County, north China's Shanxi Province. Soon, he will carry the expertise he has honed in alumina production back to Ketapang, West Kalimantan province of Indonesia, where he is set to embark on his career as a junior manager in the West Kalimantan New Industry City.

As pioneers of the Maritime Silk Road, China and Indonesia have seen their economic and cultural ties strengthen significantly in recent years. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a catalyst for this partnership, empowering the youth of Indonesia, like Mahnitra, to actively contribute to their development.

Ketapang's coastal region, traditionally reliant on fishing and with its youth seeking opportunities in Java, is now witnessing a renaissance with the establishment of the West Kalimantan New Industry City, a collaborative venture between China and Indonesia.

By the end of this year, the West Kalimantan New Industry City, backed by Hangzhou Jinjiang Group, is expected to be fully operational. The centerpiece will be a 1-million-tonne alumina manufacturing plant, complemented by supporting power facilities and a port with an annual cargo handling capacity of 10 million tonnes.

"The 6.8-square-km industrial park is projected to create over 1,000 local jobs and generate an estimated annual tax revenue of 726 billion Indonesian rupiah (about 44.64 million U.S. dollars), marking a transformative moment for Ketapang," said Hao Zhiyin, a Chinese official overseeing the project. The project was recognized as a key initiative in Indonesia last year, joining the ranks of the country's 28 industrial growth hubs.

Mahnitra was among 60 Indonesian graduates who joined the Shanxi Pinglu Aluminum Factory last year, selected through rigorous written tests and interviews. Their curriculum in China encompasses alumina production operations, equipment maintenance, and the Chinese language.

Mahnitra expressed his pride in the starting salary of over 6 million rupiah. "My parents are really proud of that," said the 27-year-old.

Mahnitra has also found comfort in how accommodating the enterprise has been towards their religious needs with a dedicated Muslim restaurant and prayer area.

After a half-year's life in China, the trainees have nearly assimilated into the local lifestyle. They were invited to participate in an 8-a-side football match a month ago. Initially facing losses, they improved as they became more accustomed to the field and rules.

Uti Najwa Atras, a 23-year-old rear guard with a decade of football experience, shared his excitement, "It feels amazing to play football in another country." The recent graduate from Yogyakarta University of Technology is also eager to explore China's rich history and culture in cities like Xi'an and Luoyang after his training.

The BRI framework has facilitated China's contribution of mature technologies, advanced experience, and investment to Indonesia. From power stations to telecommunications, the collaboration has yielded a series of high-quality infrastructure projects, with the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway serving as a paragon of high-quality development.

"We have seen tangible outcomes of our cooperation, changing the lives of many. We hope for further collaboration to provide more opportunities and benefits to the people," Mahnitra said.  

Xinhualiu sha

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