Saturday, December 9, 2017

1) Papua to enter e-commerce era amid economic progress

2) Photos and thanks after Global Flag Raising for West Papua!

3) Russia vying for power in the South Pacific

1) Papua to enter e-commerce era amid economic progress

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - E-commerce is developing in Indonesia`s big cities, but some isolated areas in its eastern regions, such as Papua, have yet to enjoy the benefits of the online trade facility due to an inadequate telecommunication system.

However, the country`s eastern regions, which are still isolated and yet to be fully connected through fiber optic cables, will be able to enjoy online trade when support facilities for the Palapa Ring are installed at the designated locations.

Palapa Ring is a national fiber optic network construction project that will cover as many as 34 provinces and 440 cities and districts across Indonesia, with a total sea cable length of 35,280 kilometers, and a mainland cable length reaching as much as 21,807 kilometers.

To this end, the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Papua (HIPMI Papua) has reminded that Papua will soon enter the e-commerce era after supporting facilities for the Palapa Ring project become operational. 

The Palapa Ring project is being developed and is expected to be completed by 2018.

"With the completion of the Palapa Ring project, I think, Papua will change. Development in the e-commerce sector will be boosted. Our entrepreneur friends should thus be alert and prepared to garner benefits from this condition," Chairman of the Executive Board of HIPMI Papua Dasril Sahari stated in Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua, on Wednesday (Dec 6).

Sahari claimed to be involved in the development of the Palapa Ring project, noting that the central government has determined the Palapa Ring placement points across the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

According to Sahari, all districts and cities in these two provinces will have internet access similar to other regions in Indonesia in 2018.

"Some 61 points in Papua and West Papua will be included in the Palapa Ring project. Access to internet will be available in Paniai in Lake Tigi in 2018," he remarked.

Sahari reminded that all parties, especially entrepreneurs, must prepare themselves to face the coming era of e-commerce in Papua.

"This is a challenge for our friends, and we should utilize this momentum as young businesspersons in Papua. If we do not make a start from now on, then we will be left behind by big entrepreneurs entering Papua," he stated.

He believed that despite the absence of territorial borders in this era, local entrepreneurs have their own strengths that must be utilized optimally. 

"We have an advantage here, as we are aware of the culture in Papua, and this should be utilized," Sahari remarked.

Moreover, the online trading system, or e-commerce, has grown rapidly in recent years in the country, as it offers special services to consumers to shop or order goods through online media.

Based on data at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the value of online trading transactions, or e-commerce, reaches Rp200 trillion. Currently, internet users in Indonesia account for 93.4 million people and users of smartphones total 71 million, who are all potential market for online businesses.

In fact, the volume of e-commerce transactions in Indonesia is still relatively small, but the government is taking anticipatory steps in the face of growth in the e-commerce industry, as it is developing as a global trade model.

Indonesia`s e-commerce transactions still account for about one to two percent of the retail transactions, or much lower than the global average of eight percent. However, it is forecast that e-commerce transactions in Indonesia will increase drastically from US$12 billion in 2014 to some $24.6 billion this year.

Hence, the HIPMI views the e-commerce industry as a business sector that holds good future prospects in Papua. It will grow in line with the regional economic progress and growth.

Although Papua`s economy in the third quarter of this year is slower than the previous quarter, Papua, Indonesia`s easternmost province, is expected to record strong economic growth next year. 

In the third quarter of 2017, Papua`s economy grew 3.40 percent than the same period last year, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) Office in Papua Province.

The third-quarter growth was supported by all business fields, Eko Mardiana, chief of the BPS office, noted in Jayapura, Papua, on Monday (Dec. 4).

"The third-quarter growth is slower than that of the previous quarter, recorded at 4.88 percent, due to a slowdown in the mining and extracting sectors, which are the biggest contributors to Papua`s economy," he explained.

Mardiana said the electricity and gas sector had contributed 8.14 percent to Papua`s economic growth, followed by the information and communication sector, at 6.92 percent, and waste treatment and recycling, at 6.77 percent.

In the meantime, the representative office of Bank Indonesia for Papua has forecast that the province`s economy would grow stronger in 2018, dominated by the mining sector. 

"In aggregate terms, Papua`s economy could grow at around five to 5.4 percent in 2018 year-on-year (yoy), up from an estimated four to 4.4 percent in 2017," Joko Supratikto, head of the Bank Indonesia representative office for Papua, stated in Jayapura on Thursday (Dec 7). 

Increase in the sales of minerals is an indicator of optimism for players in the mining sector in Papua in 2018, Supratikto remarked. 

In the first quarter of 2018, Papua`s economy is forecast to reach 5.3-5.7 percent yoy, higher than that in the last quarter of 2017. The economy of the province is expected to grow 5.2-5.6 percent yoy in the last quarter of 2017. 

The mining sector is expected to remain the key driver of economic growth in Papua in 2018.

Editor: Heru Purwanto

2) Photos and thanks after Global Flag Raising for West Papua!

DECEMBER 8, 2017
The Free West Papua Campaign would like to thank everyone who attended the historic Global Flag Raising for West Papua on 1st December. This year we received over 250 photos from over 30 countries around the world, making it the biggest global day of action for West Papua so far!
From the cold mountains of the Alps, to the sun-kissed beaches of Hawai’i, from the teetering chasms of the Grand Canyon, to the bustling streets of Abuja; the Morning Star flag of the West Papuan people was raised everywhere in solidarity with their struggle for freedom.
It is extremely poignant that the West Papuan flag was raised so freely aboard, when West Papuan people raising it in their own country can get 15 year jail sentences for it. It is this very flag which represents their right to freedom and independence, first raised with hope exactly 56 years ago on 1st December 1961.
It means everything for the people of West Papua to see their flag raised freely in solidarity with their struggle by people around the world as it is this exact freedom they are so expressly denied. Not only was the West Papuan flag raised by hundreds of individuals in dozens of countries , it was raised by dedicated support groups, leaders and even local councils and City Halls.
Commenting on the significance of the incredible flag raisings this year, West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda, who was recently elected as the Chair of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), stated,
“I would like to sincerely thank everyone around the world who raised the flag of the West Papuan people on December 1st in solidarity with our freedom struggle. When you raise our flag, you are not just raising a star into the air but you are raising awareness, raising support and above all raising the hope of a nation and a people who have long felt forgotten by the rest of the world. You give strength to my people and give hope to our freedom struggle. Knowing that we have not been forgotten but are supported by people across the globe means everything to us and we are deeply inspired and moved by your true expressions of humanity and compassion. You are the voices of the West Papuan people in your countries and your actions will be recorded in our history. Wa wa wa”.
We would like to join Benny Wenda in thanking YOU, all of you, all around the world for taking the time and effort, however great or small to raise the West Papuan flag on 1st December and every day before or since. From minors to MPs, the efforts of everyone is so deeply appreciated and is making a big impact in terms of crucial awareness, support and networking for West Papua.
We will be announcing the winners of the prize for the best photos we feel were taken very soon. This year there were three categories; 1. Most dramatic 2. Most artistic and 3. Most politically significant.
Until then, please keep up the amazing work and keep spreading the message! We wold love to hear form you about helping West Papua in the future so if you have any ideas, questions or info, please do not hesitate to Contact Us. Take a look at the incredible photos from the Global Flag Raising for West Papua 2017 below!


3) Russia vying for power in the South Pacific

AT the APEC Ministerial Meeting in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang earlier this month, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met with some of his regional counterparts from the region.
In doing so he highlighted the significance and nature of Russia’s role in the Asia-Pacific, and in the South Pacific in particular. His meeting with Papua New Guinea’s Rimbink Pato, for example, highlighted the importance of bilateral relations and cooperation on regional security, humanitarian issues, education, and fisheries.
At first glance, the South Pacific may not appear to be the most strategically or economically pivotal territory for Russia. The region is a long way from Russia and already has neighbouring Australia as a traditional protector and donor to the many small developing states and nations.
However, since 2012 Russia has organized a raft of meetings and talks with senior representatives of small island states of the South Pacific, including Vanuatu, Tonga, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Fiji, Cook Islands, Samoa, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau. The last meeting happened during the 72nd UN General Assembly in September when the participants reaffirmed their intention to develop cooperation between Russia and its partners in the South Pacific on a broad range of issues of mutual interest.
Moscow knows and publicly acknowledges that the bi-polar world of the Cold War is over, and the new reality of a multi-polar world has come. Due to the country’s territorial and geographical location, Russia tries to play the role of a Eurasian power – dividing its attention between East and West.
The South Pacific is therefore part of Russia’s East-oriented strategic and political ambitions. The region is also viewed as a platform to enhance dialogue and partnerships within APEC, EAS, ASEAN and other organizations.
An article published by Vladimir Putin on the eve of APEC 2017 portrays Russia as a major Eurasian power that has a stake in the successful future of the Asia-Pacific region. Even though the South Pacific is not publicized as a priority in Russia’s foreign policy, it has been repeatedly mentioned in foreign policy documents which emphasize that Russia will continue to maintain regular ties with states in the South Pacific.
Despite the political rhetoric, talks, and use of diplomatically vague expressions such as ‘the broad range of issues of mutual interests and fostering friendship and cultural ties,’ Russia is taking steps to spread its influence over the South Pacific.
This was ramped up with Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Fiji in 2012. The trip could be characterized as checkbook diplomacy, with Russia announcing large aid donations to Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu in return for recognition of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Back in Russia, the public response to the aid donations ranged from understanding the importance of the strategic partnership with the South Pacific to anger and frustration that Russia was spending time, money, and energy building relations with apparently unimportant partners.
So what, exactly, is Russia’s real interest in the South Pacific? This is not a question with clear answers.
It could be that Russia’s foreign policy retains some of its Cold War stridency, despite the peaceful, consistent, and predictably-diplomatic official declarations. The country’s moves in the region might also be an attempt to restore the former Soviet Union’s legacy, laying out a network of influence available for future contingencies. There is a saying in Russia that ‘old stories happen with new people’. If this is right, then one might argue that Russia is still using well established but evolving methods inherited from the Soviet Union’s foreign policy.
George Kennan, in his famous Long Telegram of 1946, was able to foresee this feature of the Soviet foreign policy in weakening of power and influence and contacts of advanced Western nations over small nations in order to create a vacuum which will be favorable for Communist-Soviet penetration. While Russia posing a direct challenge to developed regional powers would be dangerous and unproductive, targeting small developing countries and nations offers greater opportunities to exert influence.
On the other hand, the growing role of China and its broad financial aid to a wide range of developing countries is also acknowledged. Objectively, Russia cannot compete with Chinese economic power and resources, yet Russia’s willingness to maintain diplomatic ties and keep its political influence in the region goes along with Chinese expansion.
In the long term, problems might arise when these smaller nations adapt to the situation, skillfully taking advantage of competing major or regional powers vying for influence. Russia experienced this with North Korea, with the initial Soviet support and mentoring of the young communist regime now seeming to account for little in Pyongyang.
The small, developing nations of the South Pacific might be willing to accept generous yet mysterious Russian donations. However, all those engaged in Pacific affairs should seek to understand what kind of strings Russia might be tying in the region, and what consequences might follow.
This article was originally from Policy Forum – Asia and the Pacific’s platform for public policy analysis, opinion, debate, and discussion.

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