The South Sulawesi governor talks about the significance of research in government decision-making

governor of south sulawesi

Andi Sudirman Sulaiman: Research is the base and the starting point to understand problems and find the best solutions. Collaboration between researchers, the government and practical implementation is essential for translating research into policies which will help a community.

The province of South Sulawesi in Indonesia is positioning itself as a transformational hub in the region and the Governor’s office has been working with the Australia-Indonesia Centre on investigating issues that are important to its future.

The provincial government is keen to collaborate with partners who can help it progress and the AIC had the opportunity to talk with Governor Andi Sudirman Sulaiman during his visit to Melbourne. He shared his views about the importance of research, the transformation of key industries and the significance of skill development for the region’s young population.

“We say that research is the base and the starting point to move on how to see the problem and what is the best solution,” he said.

Mr Sulaiman emphasised the fundamental role of research in the policymaking process. He said the challenge was to have the rigour of academic investigation and the process of bureaucracy come together to tackle issues in a practical way.

“We must meet between the researchers from the academy and the practical side with the government in the middle of that to decide how to make the results of the research able to be implemented.”

The Centre has been producing a number of research findings to help policymakers gain a comprehensive understanding of local challenges and help develop effective solutions.

As one example, South Sulawesi is renowned for its significant seaweed production. According to Mr Sulaiman the industry needs to improve the quality of seaweed to tap into better or more lucrative markets. The AIC’s PAIR program has been researching quality issues and possible solutions right through the value chain.

This focus on quality will help foster a more modern and competitive industry which also supports sustainable growth.

“Our aim is to establish specific industrial practices dedicated to seaweed production, emphasising the addition of value, health benefits and adherence to future quality standards for export purposes,” said Mr Sulaiman.

The AIC is also doing research on the development of a new railway line in South Sulawesi. Mr Sulaiman explained the significance of the railway in terms of social and economic wellbeing, its efficiency, affordability and the potential to connect various regions within the province.

“We have 21 regencies and three cities and to cross the province takes about 10 to 12 hours by road. And then by using the railway line the travel time becomes quite fast and can also connect into the airport, and the harbour and bring in the mining production side, agricultural side and a mass transport system that is quite cheap.”

Lastly, the importance of skill development for young people in South Sulawesi was discussed. This included the establishment of technical or vocational schools and the plan to provide hands-on training and industry partnerships to improve the skills of students. He expressed a desire to learn from the educational systems in countries like Australia and hopes for collaboration in developing educational opportunities for young people in South Sulawesi.

To delve deeper into the PAIR research in South Sulawesi and discover more about its impact, visit this link:

Digital Communication Associate, The Australia-Indonesia Centre

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Head of Communications and Outreach,
The Australia-Indonesia Centre