Disparities in development between different regions in Indonesia can be stark. Urban centres on Java, like Jakarta and Yogyakarta, have human development index scores in the high 70s and low 80s, whereas eastern Indonesian provinces like Papua, West Papua and East Nusa Tenggara score in the high 50s to low 60s.


President Joko Widodo has pledged to move away from a Java-focused development model to a so-called “Indonesia-centric” approach. But what are the drivers of regional disparity, what are its impacts, and what policy levers are available to the government to lessen differences between regions?


In Talking Indonesia, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues with Professor Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s minister for national development planning and head of Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas). You can read Professor Brodjonegoro’s presentation on regional disparities at the 2018 Indonesia Development Forum here (Bahasa Indonesia).


Today’s episode is the first in the “Policy in Focus” series of Talking Indonesia episodes, supported by the Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI), a partnership between the Australian and Indonesian governments that aims to improve the use of evidence in development policymaking. This series will appear periodically in alternate weeks to the regular Talking Indonesia episodes.


In 2018, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Singapore Management University and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.


Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight.  Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Australian Embassy Jakarta on Flickr.


The views and opinions expressed in this post do not represent the views of the Australian or Indonesian governments.


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