Under President Joko Widodo, the government has shown strong commitment for developing the less developed areas in Eastern Indonesia, including Papua. Based on Presidential Instruction No. 9 Year 2020 on the Acceleration of Welfare Development in Papua, tangible results in the form of rapid infrastructure development in the region since 2014 are evident. The drive for improving connectivity in order to open up isolated areas, reducing prices, and increasing the quality of life of Papuans has led to large-scale construction projects including roads, power plants, schools, as well as efforts to improve human resources in the region.
One of the government’s most ambitious projects is the Trans Papua Highway which, according to data from the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, will be completed in 2024. The highway will be 3462 km long, with 183 km left to be completed. Of the completed parts, 1647 km in Papua and 670 km of roads in West Papua are already paved with asphalt. The highway, which is a National Strategic Project and part of the National Medium Term Development Plan 2020-2024 aims to revitalize the economy and improve connectivity for Papuans, which will ease logistics distribution and mobility for the people. The construction has progressed despite facing various challenges including the area’s natural conditions, materials and security.
Another important development target is increasing access to electricity, which has seen much progress in recent years. This can be seen from the increased electrification ratio which grew significantly from 30,48% in 2013 to 77% in 2018. The number rose to 94,55% in 2021, closing in on the target of 100% for 2022. To reach it, the State Electricity Company (PLN) has relied on solar power, especially for villages far from existing networks.
Other major ongoing projects include the Yetekun Border Post, Yetekun Access Road, the rehabilitation of 235 educational infrastructure units, Papua Youth Creative Hub, Merauke Diocese building, and the Asmat Bridge. President Joko Widodo has shown that he is serious about developing Papua, including by making 15 visits to the region in his two terms in office.
In addition to physical infrastructure, the Government is committed to enhancing Papua’s human resources through scholarships such as the Middle Education Affirmation (ADEM), High Education Affirmation (ADIK), and the Educational Fund Management Institution (LPDP) programs. These provide the opportunity to Papua’s young generation to enhance their capabilities and skill, which must start from an early age.
Quality human resources is important to prepare for the demographic bonus period which will impact the economy, politics, and improving the nation’s welfare. The collaboration and participation of the young generation must be maximized to speed up human resources development in Papua. This development needs to be accelerated to fill various employment sectors in line with the region’s potential. The central government’s efforts in this regard can hopefully stimulate the young generation in order to be more proactive so the programs can bring maximum returns. Quotas have also been set aside for Papuan youth to work as civil servants, police and army personnel, as well as employees of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
In conclusion, it is clear that the government’s efforts in the development of Papua and its people have produced tangible results, which is set to continue. The efforts to achieve equal development everywhere through various concrete programs is testament to its commitment