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Appreciating Infrastructure Development to Improve the Quality of Life of People in Papua

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By : Damier Kobogau )*

The government continues to be committed to developing Papua through various infrastructure developments to connect remote areas. As part of efforts to enhance development in the region, various approaches continue to be implemented. The first is the infrastructure approach, and the second is the human resources approach. 

In terms of infrastructure, the government continues to be oriented towards Indonesia-centric development aimed at equitable distribution of infrastructure as well as a commitment to reach remote areas that were previously difficult to reach. All development efforts are a concrete manifestation of the presence of a government that is fully committed to accelerating development in the Land of Papua, and all of it specifically for the progress and welfare of the community.

Meanwhile, in terms of a human resources approach, the government continues to carry out development in the education, health, economic empowerment and empowerment of indigenous communities. 

The Acting Governor of Papua, Ridwan Rudalamun, said that Papua’s development continues to show a positive trend. According to him, data for the third quarter of 2023 shows economic growth of 8.28%, exceeding the national average of 4.94%. Apart from that, the Human Development Index (HDI) for Papua Province has also experienced a significant increase, reaching 61.39 in 2022. 

According to him, in the Healthy Papua aspect, the life expectancy figure of 66.23 years shows a significant increase. Meanwhile, efforts to reduce the prevalence of stunting have also been successful, with a decrease from 29% in 2021 to 26.9% in 2022. 

In the Smart Papua sector, there is an increase in expected years of schooling for both children and adults. The average length of schooling for people aged 25 years and over increased from 6.76 years in 2021 to 7.02 years in 2022. 

The government continues to make various commitments to prosperity so that Papua’s development can be effective and reach all levels of society. That way, justice in Papua will be realized and the easternmost region of Indonesia will be equal to other regions, especially Java.

Although progress has been made, there is still much work that needs to be done to improve the welfare of the people of Papua and West Papua. Some of the main obstacles involve geographic, social, economic and political aspects.

Previously, several regions in Papua were quite behind in the infrastructure development sector compared to other regions. Such as limited infrastructure, economic inequality, unequal access to basic services, social and political tensions, and lack of investment and development of human resources. However, in the era of President Jokowi’s administration, these obstacles were quickly resolved and the commitment to equitable development continued to be pursued, so that disparities with several other regions were quickly reduced. 

Acting (Pj) Governor of Southwest Papua, Muhammad Musa’ad, said that the development carried out by the government is truly in accordance with the needs and aspirations of the community so that prosperity can be achieved. The community is the owner of the main rights and benefits from development. Therefore, they must be actively involved in the planning and decision-making process. He invites all elements of society to work together and support development efforts in Southwest Papua. With the spirit of unity and unity, it is hoped that Southwest Papua can become an advanced and prosperous province.

The government is currently focusing on encouraging the development of local economic sectors in Papua such as agriculture, fisheries and creative industries. In addition, it continues to provide skills training and support for small and medium businesses in Papua. It is hoped that this program will run well along with improvements in infrastructure and health services in Papua. In the future, economic growth, health and education in Papua will grow together and improve people’s living standards. 

In the future, this development is believed to have positive impacts, such as improving the quality of life of residents and opening up greater economic opportunities in the region. Sustainable steps and synergy between the government, private sector and local communities are the key to realizing inclusive and sustainable development in Papua.

Apart from that, collaborating with the private sector and non-governmental organizations in development projects and initiative projects in the field of improving welfare can certainly increase the available resources and expertise. This is important so that the goals of fair and sustainable welfare can be achieved.

Head of the Master of Management Study Program at Cendrawasih University (Uncen), Ferdinand Risamasu, said that Papua is a region that has extraordinary potential in terms of natural resources and cultural diversity. However, for decades, development in Papua has not been completely equitable and is sometimes hampered by various factors such as inadequate infrastructure, limited access to health and education services, and economic inequality. However, these conditions are different in the era of President Jokowi’s administration, various accelerations continue to be carried out starting from the education, health and even people’s economic sectors. So, Papua is now starting to be on par with other regions.  

Improving the quality of life of people in Papua requires long-term commitment, active community participation, and a sustainable development approach. This commitment will provide real solutions and contributions in responding to the challenges of advancing Papua, to welcome the Golden Indonesia 2045.

)* The author is a Papuan student living in Surabaya.

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