Why is the Indonesian president hanging out with ‘super genius’ Elon Musk?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Washington last weekend along with other Southeast Asian leaders, while his US counterpart Joe Biden wants to court the region against growing Chinese influence.

But it was a trip to the small town of Boca Chica, Texas, which attracted more attention back home in Indonesia.

Widodo had a high-profile meeting with Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk at the private space agency’s headquarters, where he was given a private tour.

While Mr. Widodo praised the tech baron as a “super genius,” Mr. Musk stated that he was “very interested” in the future of Indonesia, a country of 270 million people.

The richest man in the world also said the country radiated “positive energy”.

“We are going to try, from a Tesla and Space X point of view, to do some partnerships in Indonesia,” Musk said, marking “future collaboration on many fronts.”

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Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is trying to cash in on the global transition to electric vehicles (EVs) by attracting foreign investment from the likes of Mr. Musk.

Nickel is an important component of lithium-ion battery cells, which are used in most EVs.

The demand for the metal is therefore increasing rapidly.

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