One of the richest provinces in Indonesia, Papua Province is three times larger than Java Island. Inhabited by smaller population compared to other provinces, the area also has rich and unexploited natural resources, such as plantations, forest products, mining, agriculture, and fisheries. The natural resources are not yet optimized by the community since there are not many adequate roads as access to production hubs in the area.
Therefore, the Province of Papua and West Papua have currently been priorities of the Indonesian Government in relation to infrastructure development. These priority programs are especially meant for remote and underdeveloped regions of the country.
This article focuses on the highlights and challenges that the Indonesian government is dealing with in order to achieve great infrastructure development in Papua. Read the following for further related information.
The Highlights of the Infrastructure Development in Papua
One of the Indonesian government’s main priorities is to develop infrastructure in the entire archipelago, especially the remote areas. It is done by conducting buildings of railways, toll roads, bridges and public places, such as stadiums as well as airports. These projects are considered to be able to improve the local economy and life standard of the community.
The infrastructure development in Papua such as Trans-Papua road project spans about 1,070.62km, and in 2016 there are 68 bridges built as well as 195 bridges completed in 2018. The buildings were planned and carried out by the regional government.
Not to mention the ones conducted by the central government, such as the buildings of Holtekamp Bridge and Papua Bangkit Stadium. Those programs were executed by PT Pembangunan Perumahan Tbk (PTPP), a State-owned enterprise of Indonesia (Badan Usaha Milik Negara/BUMN).
The Department of Public Works and Public Housing of Republic of Indonesia (Departemen Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahan Rakyat Republik Indonesia) has also taken great effort to build good road infrastructure. One of which is the construction of the Jayapura-Wamena road—a major investment project collaborated with the Government of Papua Province and Jayawijaya Regency—which was built with the aim of:
- Achieving a means to integrate regional potential development and community structure improvement.
- Establishing a national, provincial, regency and city road network system to support production and distribution activities.
- Creating direct benefits for the society in terms of convenient social and economic activities, flows of goods and services, employment opportunities and community skills.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transportation (Kementerian Perhubungan Republik Indonesia) has also carried out some infrastructure projects: transportation infrastructure in order to improve connectivity between Papua and West Papua Provinces. Various transportation facilities in the land, sea and air started to be built last year in both provinces.
Currently, ten airports, ports and bus as well as train stations have been built in both provinces. It is expected that the infrastructure development on transportation sector will improve logistics efficiency by lowering logistics costs, increasing the efficiency of transactions for goods and services and encouraging the success of competitive national productions.
Challenges Faced by the Government in Terms of Papua’s Infrastructure
Infrastructure development like buildings, roads and bridges would surely have a positive impact on the community. Experts stated that a road construction alone—especially in rural areas—would lower transportation costs and facilitate goods shipment. In addition to that, it will also increase vehicular and human mobility from remote villages, raising the awareness of the community of the importance to be educated and to earn for a living.
However, several challenges have to be dealt with in Papua’s infrastructure development. The challenges are as follows.
Human Resource Challenges
Many people living in isolated areas of both Papua and West Papua Provinces are still undereducated. Hence, the government should also improve on this sector, so that the natural resources in the area will be well-managed.
Cultural and sociological challenges
Some indigenous Papuan tribes still live in small communities and spread all over the remote rural areas, making it rather hard to approach them for human resource development. Tribal wars and separatism movements that have been going on from time to time are also difficult challenges for security in conducting development on many sectors.
Papua is indeed a large geographical territory with total 768,000km2 of land width alone. Consequently, it is a huge challenge to conduct infrastructure development equally in the entire region.
Moreover, 71% of the land consists of tropical rain forest with numerous valleys and mountains, adding more challenges to the development implementation. This may also lead to an uneven distribution of population.
Infrastructure development in Papua has indicated positive correlation with overall community’s well being. Specifically, the building of Papua Bangkit Stadium as well as Holtekamp Bridge is also believed to be a great trigger for economic growth in the land of the earth’s paradise.
The big challenges mentioned in previous section of this article would not be problems if the government also prioritized on the other sectors including human resources, cultures and geographical issues. Therefore, it is expected that in the near future, all parties (the government of all levels and the whole community) cooperate better to help stabilize the infrastructure development in the region.