Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Diversity Issues in Local Development in Papua

Academic journal article Economics, Management and Financial Markets

Diversity Issues in Local Development in Papua

Article excerpt


Many countries have implemented decentralization. However, in the case of Indonesia it has also been accompanied by a controversial phenomenon: the local government proliferation or "blossoming". As result of the proliferation wave, the number of local governments in Indonesia increased significantly, also in Eastern Indonesia such as Papua. In recent decentralization and special autonomy for Papua, this region has significantly increased its regional income. Papua was called as example of frontier economy regions that have attracted a large number of economic migrants and it has had a profound impact on the demographic composition of Papua and its ethnic mix. Lack of human resources, in particular in the new autonomous regions, may increase voluntary migrants from other areas. The aim of this paper is to describe demographic changes in Papua and to argue this diversity issue should be concerned in Papuan development.

JEL codes: Jll, Z13

Keywords: diversity, development, social capital, Papua

1. Introduction

One of important issues related to local development is decentralization. It is argued that decentralization may benefit local development (i.e. Helmsing 2001) since decentralization will reduce overload and congestion in the channels of administration and communication and bring government closer to the people and increase participation of local communities to decisionmaking process (i.e. Rondinelli, Nellis, Cheema 1983).

The "Big Bang Decentralization" in Indonesia (Hofinan and Kaiser 2002, Nickson et al. 2009: 59) was seen as an important policy to address the diversity in various aspects of Indonesia as a diverse country since it was aimed to bring the government to the people. But as Nickson et al. noted, although decentralization has increased the resources going to the local level, that increase has been much greater in the resource-rich regions than elsewhere and it does not systematically address either poverty or interregional inequality (Nickson et al. 2009: 90). Moreover, Aspinall (2010), in his article on the Indonesia's democratic transition after Soeharto, claimed that the effects of decentralization on conflict amelioration have been positive, but the impact on corruption control and improving government performance has not been.

Decentralization may also results a reform on the territorial administration. Local government could be fragmented (proliferated) or consolidated. In the international context of territorial reforms, according to Ferrazzi (2007: 6-7), there was a long history of fragmentation and the more recent developments are consolidations, mainly in Western Europe and North America (for the Asia-Pacific regions, see: Nickson et al. 2009: 64). In contrast, several countries in Eastern Europe and other developing countries in Africa and Asia have established new regions (8-9). The creation of new regions in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia could be caused by several reasons (Tabel 1) such as buying political supports and bringing the government closer to the people (Ferrazzi 2007: 8). For example, popular pressures for increased democracy forced a rapid increase the number of municipalities in the Czech Republic after shedding communism. Meanwhile, in Poland, its government wished to bring government closer to the people and improve public services efficiency, besides there was the citizens groups' pressure to demand a large number of municipalities. The Polish government used the "5-10-50" formula, which means each district would comprise at least five municipalities and a district capital of at least ten thousand inhabitants, and an overall population of at least fifty thousand. The results of this formula are 373 new districts. In Uganda, the number of districts also increased significantly, along ethnic lines, in particularly since 2000s and the major drivers were administrative job creation and fulfilment of political campaign promises by the ruling party (Emmanuel 2008). …

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