16 Feb 2007

Jakarta plans to quicken slow development in Papua

7:57 am on 16 February 2007

Indonesia's government says it will speed up development in the provinces of Papua and West Papua after an assessment found both still lacking in terms of infrastructure and economy.

The Jakarta Post reports that Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs A.S. Widodo says developing basic transportation infrastructure will be prioritised to improve access and mobility to remote areas

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Mr Widodo also mentioned the need to develop suitable plantations and crops in the two provinces to promote self-sufficiency.

West Papua is the new name for the three-year old province of West Irian Jaya which was created out of Papua's eastern part in 2003 as one of several proposed new provinces in the Papua region.

Papua and West Papua are among the most impoverished regions in the country, even though the land is rich in natural resources and major mining companies operating there make handsome profits.

Officials from the two provinces will meet soon to discuss cooperation in implementing future development policies.