Overview: Place, people and connectivity in South Sulawesi
When Joko “Jokowi” Widodo became president of Indonesia in 2014, one of his boldest policy moves was to spend big on infrastructure.
After decades of under-spending, Indonesia was being left behind with a massive infrastructure gap. In his five-year national plan (2015-2019), he made accelerating infrastructure investment his priority; a priority that is continuing in his second term (2019-2024).
He pledged to build 5,000 kilometres of railways, 2,600 kilometres of roads, 1,000 kilometres of toll roads, 49 dams, 24 seaports, and power plants with a combined capacity of 35,000 megawatts. He identified, for instance, fixing port infrastructure, the shipping industry and maritime tourism as important for improving connectivity. He increased spending on distribution networks and lowered logistics costs to enhance competitiveness. He also committed to spending more than half of the national budget outside Java to address regional inequality.
As an archipelagic nation, Indonesia’s challenge is intra-island, inter-island and international connectivity. Connecting port to city to rural to islands is vital for poverty alleviation and for sustainable rural development and urbanisation. By investing in infrastructure that links cities, towns, villages and islands, these new connections will open up new possibilities. The stronger physical linkages between roads, rail, seaports and airports have the potential to improve living conditions, open up access to markets and lift employment opportunities for local communities.
The three chapters of this report – Place, People and Connectivity – reflect the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research’s focus on South Sulawesi, taking a deep dive into the province, its people and its infrastructure, illustrating its importance to Indonesia’s future.
For the purposes of this report, we have grouped a number of districts into one of six regions on a geographic basis for ease of comparison across the whole province. This provides an easy snapshot of patterns across the province that would be more difficult to follow in a list of the province’s 24 districts and cities. As such, the combinations do not reflect any actual administrative, historic or other form of unity within these regions. The only exception is the Makassar megapolitan region that has been identified by the government as part of its major urban development plan. These six regions are outlined in a table on page six.
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