Development in Papua: The 5 Mega Projects

Development in Papua
Development in Papua

During his first and second official terms, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has put more emphasis on the infrastructure development in Papua. The government has carried out many infrastructure projects to increase more connectivity in Papua and West Papua provinces.


As the coming expiration of the Special Autonomy status and fund (otsus fund) for Papua in 2021, along with the 2020-2024 RPJMN (National Medium-Term Development Plan), there are at least five more proposed mega projects on the way.


#1 – Development Projects in the La Pago Customary Region

President Jokowi has emphasized the development agenda in Papua based on the customary regions (wilayah adat). One of them is La Pago, residing the eastern side of Pegunungan Tengah (Central Highlands) in Papua province.


Following the 2015-2019 RPJMN, the government established the Economic Development Area (KPE) that has included ten (10) regencies in La Pago like Jayawijaya, Mamberamo Tengah, Puncak Jaya, and more.


The development focus was to increase upstream productivity, including some agricultural commodities like sago, buah merah (Pandanus conoideus), and sweet potato. Meanwhile, for the industrialization or downstream acceleration focused on the industries of sago, buah merah, and sweet potato, as well as the tourism industry.


The 2020-2024 RPJMN will continue the previous programs, along with a focus on increasing the Human Development Index among the ten regencies in La Pago. There are comprehensive programs of infrastructure, education, health, telecommunication and information accessibility, tourism, and more.


#2 – Development Projects of Strategic Activities Centers in Merauke and Jayapura

The National Spatial Plan has set the border areas as one of what-so-called the National Strategic Activities Center (PKSN). It includes the set-up of urban areas to encourage development in a country’s border areas, thereby the centers for the economic growth.


The development of PKS also has the purpose of increasing productivity and competitiveness among regions in Papua. The 2020-2024 RPJMN has proposed the following projects for development acceleration in Merauke and Jayapura.

Area Development Projects
MeraukeKali Bian bridge construction, Merauke Port development, Mopah airport development, BAKTI Internet, Petani and Nelayan Go Online, Type B and C market construction, independent Integrated Marine and Fishery Center, and more.
JayapuraSkouw terminal, Sentani airport, Papua border bridge, “Anjungan Cerdas” construction at the Skouw border, Type B and C market construction, drainage management system, the traditional village as border tourism plan, vocational training, and more.


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#3 – Trans Papua Road Project

Development in Papua
Trans Papua

Trans Papua is a mega road project stretches from Sorong in West Papua province to Merauke of Papua province. In 2017, the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) constructed a 3,850-kilometer road of the total 4,325 kilometers.


Consisting of eight (8) road segments in Papua province and four (4) road segments in West Papua province, the Trans Papua faced the challenging isolated terrain or landscape condition. The project also, unfortunately, experienced a temporary delay in 2018 due to security issues.


The PUPR immediate plan is completing the West Trans Papua by constructing more bridges. If no further obstacles occur, the target for Trans Papua completion is in 2020.


#4 – The “Air Bridge” Project

Development in Papua
Air Bridge Project

The aim of the “air bridge” (Jembatan Udara) program by the Minister of Transportation is to reduce the price disparity between Papua regions and other provinces in Indonesia, as well as among Papua areas themselves.


Air Bridge is a form of air cargo transportation between airports or to airports located in the underdeveloped, remote, outermost and border areas. In other words, it can better distribute essential goods to the most remote and mountainous regions, and vice versa.


Started in 2017, the Air Bridge program has operated 11 air routes with three airport hubs in Timika, Wamena and Dekai. It grew into 41  in 2018 with two additional airport hubs in Masamba and Tarakan. In 2019, there were 39 routes with the addition of a new airport hub in Tanah Merah.


#5 – New City Development – Sorong, West Papua

Development in Papua

Sorong is one of the cities in West Papua that known for its natural resources and potentials in the economic sector. Sorong also has its tourism potentials as it is the gateway, a transit city, to the diving heaven of worldwide famous Raja Ampat.


Thanks to the booming trend of tourism and travelling, this city has contributed as one of the strategic areas for economic and financial growth. The 2020-2024 RPJMN covers the project of new city development, more particularly to improve a sustainable city index in the City of Sorong.


The development plan has proposed some further major projects to pursue in Sorong, among others are:

  • Sorong Port development
  • A road-based urban mass public transport system
  • Domine Eduard Osok Airport further development
  • Skill Development Center establishment
  • Rumah Susun (Rusun, flats) construction for labors, workers, and Civil Servants


Those big projects have the purpose of creating more employment opportunities and new points of the economic growth outside the Jakarta or Java Island. Also, the government expects for further reduction of the development gap while accelerating welfare development in Papua and West Papua.