Jokowi’s Proven Promises for Papua

In his campaign, two years ago (2014), when Joko Widodo nominated himself as a presidency candidate, he visited Papua three times. His first arrival was in 5 April 2014. Eight months later, exactly in 27 December 2014, he came back to this land of the rising sun. His last visit to Papua was in Merauke, in 10 May 2015. In his visit, the man who was born in Surakarta made several promises regarding the welfare of the Papuan people if he was elected as President.

Jokowi's promises Papua
Jokowi during his visitation in Papua.

After his two years of leadership, Jokowi has proven his promises for Papua. According to papuanews, here are the goals realization of Jokowi in Papua :

1. Improve the Welfare of Army Soldiers and Teachers in the Border Area

Army soldiers and teachers at the border area, such as Borneo and Papua are the front liners who maintain the territory and educate our future leaders. Therefore, at his presidency campaign, Jokowi conveyed his wish to make them more prosperous.

After winning the election and becomes the president of Indonesia, he is making the efforts to make them more prosperous. For example, Jokowi through the Ministry of Education (Kemendikbud), enabled 1000 teachers to attend the program to improve the quality of education with scholarship in four universities in Papua. Eventually these teachers will get their bachelor degree.

For the army soldiers, Jokowi with the Ministry of Village Development and Underdeveloped Area will build 6,000 transmigration houses for the armies that are on duty in Borneo. Other facilities such as, community health center (puskesmas), places of worship, and even industrial area will also be developed.


2. Alleviates Conflict in the Papuan Community

Peace between tribes in Papua is everyone’s dream. Not only for the Papuan people but also for the whole nation. Hence, conflict in Papua, no matter how small, is a serious issue for the country.

In his campaign, Jokowi’s promises Papua that he will going to alleviates conflict in Papuan community. Jokowi himself said that the key to solving conflict is communication. “If the leader often visits his people,  like visiting Papua, then dialog will be established,” said Jokowi in a Traditional Meeting Hall of Yoka Village, two years ago.

Jokowi added, “The Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) need to protect the security from Sabang to Marauke. Therefore, the most important thing is the welfare of the people.”

When he got elected as the president of Indonesia, there are several actions that he has taken to resolve the conflict in Papua. One of them is, by nurturing Papua with new approaches, not with the oppressive security approach, but with development and welfare.

These two approaches are made by Jokowi because they are needed by the people of Papua. In his visit in front of hundreds of army soldiers and polices in Jayapura Korem Base last year, he stated, “We want to move our economic wheel in Papua by constructing infrastructures, and building markets. Hopefully the people can feel the development,” he said. If its not carried out, Jokowi feared that it can make a social and economic gap in Papua, the land with enormous natural resources.

Not only that, Jokowi’s decision to give clemency to Papuan political prisoners is also considered by some people as a new approach to solve the conflicts in Papua. According to Security and Political Observer from Indonesian Defense University, Salim Said, the decision of Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla to give clemency to political prisoners is a new way to pacify the conflicts in Papua. Therefore, we must give a thumbs up for this. The presence of Jokowi in Papua is hoped to bring more peace.


3. Develop Sea highway

Jokowi’s promises Papua in his campaign, that he will build a sea highway as sea transportation to connect the islands in the Indonesian archipelago. One of the supporting factors in his decision is the need for deep sea port to create a proper route for big ships that cross from Sabang to Merauke.

After his election as the President, Jokowi immediately realized his promises. Besides developing ports in other areas like Kuala Tanjung, Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak, and Makassar, in Papua itself, a port has already been built, which is Wasior Port. While Sorong Port, that is being prided upon as an international port is already under construction since last January of 2016.

The seriousness of Jokowi-JK goverment in building sea highway must be appreciated because one of the aims of their main program in Nawacita (nine hopes, goals, dreams) is to eliminate things that that trouble Papua, namely expensive cost of goods due to the challenging transportation access. With the sea highway, new hopes arise to get the economic wheels in Papua going in our maritime nation.


4. Develop Internet Network Access

In the high tech era of today’s world, internet is a primary need. Therefore, the realization of equal distribution of internet access must reach Papua. Jokowi’s promises Papua that he going to build a much faster internet speed in there. Recently, the government of Indonesia through the Ministry of Information and Communication are seriously developing internet in the Papuan villages with festival of Information and Communication Technology for Villages (Destika).

Destika was held in Jayapura District, Papua (28/9/16).  The event has already been held for the fourth time and expected to develop the villagers in Papua regarding information technology. The implementation of Destika aims to liberate remote places from outside world alienation. With the presence of healthy internet, the government can educate people to get a balanced information about Papua.

Budiman Sudjatmiko, member of House of Representatives Commission II in Papua who is also the head organizer of Destika said that various technologies addressed for the people in villages are introduced in  this event. For example, video streaming platform to show education and entertainment for the villagers.

“With the help of Universities and other education organizations, e-learning will be made. We’re also cooperating with Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI), therefore, they do not have to go to the villages. They can simply create an educational channel on how to reduce and prevent diseases,” said Budiman, cited from

Jokowi’s government also develops the East Palapa Ring for better internet access in the eastern part of Indonesia, including Papua. The government has already signed a contract in the amount of 5,1 trillion IDR for the East Palapa Ring project. The project will reach the eastern territory of Indonesia such as, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, West Papua, and even remote places in Papua.


5. Develop Trans Papua Road

As the biggest island in Indonesia, the geographical conditions of Papua that is surrounded with hills, mountains, and seas, has made the access to Papua becomes challenging, and in need of highway access that can connect the areas in Papua. On that basis, developing roads are at the top priority of the program, Jokowi’s promises Papua that he will going to do that in his campaign, two years ago.

Since it was first built in 2014, Trans Papua Road has already crossed many areas in Papua. According to, in its first year (2014) there was still 827 km un-connected road because that area was covered by thick forests. Then, in 2015, a total of 169 km of roads has already finished. Currently, only a total of 658 km of road is still under construction.

The seriousness of Jokowi-JK government in keeping their campaign promises two years ago in Papua, should be appreciated and supported by all parties, because Papua is an inseparable part of NKRI. As quoted from Jokowi, there is no hidden intention in developing Papua other than to develop the welfare of the people in Papua. The touch of Jokowi in Papua means realized promises in this land of the rising sun.


6. Reducing Unemployment

Unemployment is one of the most crucial problem in every countries, whether developed, developing, or underdeveloped. That is why Jokowi is giving more attention to Papua. As a country with a lot of natural resources, Papua, quoted from Jokowi during his 2014 campaign, will not let this potential being mismanaged (managed by foreign parties). Jokowi’s promises Papua that by doing that, the unemployment level in there will going to be reduce.

“Therefore, in the future, we want those resources to be managed by us (Indonesia), hence it will help to bring many employments,” he said.

Jokowi also stated, that if the natural resources can be managed by our own people, automatically the unemployment in Papua will slowly decrease. The reason being, that natural resources that have been managed by foreign parties were used to accelerate the economic wheel of their own country.

So, after two years had passed, has Jokowi proven his promises to eliminate unemployment in Papua? The realization of Jokowi’s promise can be seen in the three programs that each gives contribution to lowering unemployment, such as developing the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Sorong, Papua, building Mama-Mama Market in Papua, and developing transportation infrastructures that can decrease unemployment.

First, develop SEZ in Sorong. Sorong is chosen as one of the region that will have special economic autonomy. It has been inaugurated by Jokowi yesterday, under the Government Regulation (PP) Number 31 of 2016, within a 524,7 hectare of land.

Citing from Wikipedia, Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a region within boundaries that includes a territory that can accommodate economic functions and have certain facilitates. SEZ is developed by selecting a region that has geo-economic and geo-strategic advantages that can accommodate industrial, export, import, and other economic activities with high economic values which can compete internationally.   

Sorong is selected as SEZ because it’s a very internationally strategic area. It’s included in a trade line between Asia, Pacific, and Australia. While for the resources, in Sorong, especially in Mayamuik District where Sele Strait is located, there are many potentials in the fisheries sector and sea transportation. This location is very strategic for developing logistical industry, export management, and also for marine tourism.

That Geo-economic and Geo-strategic factor can became a gate to accelerate the economical wheel in Papua. If it runs well, there will be many sales activities that can increase the welfare of the Papuan people, as promised by Jokowi.

Second, building Mama-mama (ladies) Market, as it’s already been discussed in papuanews, market holds an important role in the economical wheel, in every region and even countries. By building markets in Papua, Jokowi wants to create more opportunity for the people. Improving access to economic activities can decrease unemployment in Papua.

Third, building Road Infrastructure for Transportation. No matter how great the economic program to increase income, it will be pointless if it’s not supported by good transportation infrastructure. Therefore, infrastructure is urgently needed as a direct connection between the economic wheel and people welfare. This is proven by Jokowi’s decision to build many infrastructures like, Trans Papua Road, Sea Toll, and Train in Papua, that is still under construction.

Currently, developments after developments are being done in Papua. Schools, markets, airports and ports are being seriously developed. Some are even already completed. Jokowi has stepped up his game for improving Papua, as you can also read in Jokowi’s Golden Touch in Papua.

Jokowi has taken the commitment to develop Papua. From the way he has proven his promises and make developments in Papua in to his priority, it seems like he will continue to make positive changes in the land of Papua. With his plans and developments in Papua underway, not only the economy of Papua will improve, the welfare of its people will also increase.






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