What to Note from President Joko Widodo’s Eighth Visit to Papua

President Joko Widodo is scheduled to make a work trip to West Papua and Papua provinces from Wednesday (11/4) to Friday (13/4). This will be his eighth visit to the easternmost provinces of Indonesia since he took office in October 2014. Upon his arrival, President Widodo is to hand over land titles to Papuan residents and visit the Mama-Mama Market in the evening.

The Mama-Mama market is a large new purpose-built market for West Papuan women vendors in downtown Jayapura. Started its operation in January 2018, the market is a way of empowering Papuan women who are the key players in the traditional markets where fresh, home-grown product are sold. It aims to enable better grassroots participation in economic development in Papua. For many years the Papuan capital lacked an adequate central market in Jayapura, with women vendors left to sell in an unused car park on a busy street corner. The market complex has streamlined electricity and modern toilet facilities. It is designed in a way to offer the Papuan a way to better market their produce, literally lifting their wares off the floor.

On the day after, President Widodo is scheduled to visit the construction of Holtekamp bridge in Jayapura. The bridge is expected to operate in 2019. Upon its completion, the bridge is likely to cut travel time from Jayapura to Muara Tami as well as cross country border post of Skouw that delimits Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The existence of this bridge can cut time up to 60 minutes from Jayapura to Muara Tami and Skouw which originally can take up to 2,5-hour drive, and therefore accelerating cross-border economic activities in the area. Holtekamp Bridge is also expected to become an icon in Papua, especially Jayapura.

Subsequently, upon his visit to Asmat regency, President Widodo is to ensure continuous treatment after measles and malnutrition outbreak occurred last year in the area. In addition, President Widodo also wants to listen directly to inputs from the community in the district. In the West Papua province, President Widodo will visit an early childhood education unit (PAUD) and meet inspirational women, among other things on the agenda.

President’s visit to Papua is perceptibly intended to accelerate the development in Papua and West Papua province. It is also to assert that building infrastructure in the periphery and outer islands is part of the concrete efforts to suppress development inequality.





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