The Newest Indonesia’s Banknote Capturing Papua’s Development Progress

(Photo Credit:

Masyithoh Annisa Ramadhani — September 2020

Last August, Bank Indonesia (BI) released the issuance of a special commemorative Rp 75,000 banknote to celebrate Indonesia’s 75th Independence Day. Issued during the economic struggle in time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that it could promote optimism on the country’s economic recovery despite the pandemic.

Besides the pictures of Indonesia’s founding fathers Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta, the Rp 75, 000 banknote also has the pictures of Trans Java Toll, Youtefa Bridge of Papua, and Jakarta’s MRT. The Governor of Bank Indonesia Perry Warjiyo said that all of these pictures partly represent the development achivements of the country after 75 years of independence.

For Papuan like Agustinue Rumere whose face is also captured in the Rp 75, 000 banknote, it is indeed a great honor for him to be among nine children wearing the traditional clothes from nine different provinces in Indonesia.

Agustinus Rumere, a 9-year-old boy is a son of Niko Rumere and Fitri Seserai. He wears Papuan traditional clothes from Yerai, Yapen District with the head accessories made of birds’ feather and the use of white face painting to decorate his look.

Agustinus is now a 4th year student in SDN Impres Polimak. He dreams of being a pilot someday. His mother, Fitri Seserai, said that she is very proud of his son as Agustinus’ face is captured in the Rp 75, 000 banknote along with Youtefa Bridge which has become the symbol of development commitment in the country’s easternmost province.

Beside Agustinus, there are other eight children wearing different traditional clothes from Aceh, Riau, Central Java, West Borneo, North Borneo, East Nusa Tenggara, Gorontalo, and Moluccas.

These pictures represent Indonesia’s huge cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversities within its boundaries. As a country which consists of 34 provinces in where people are speaking around 650 native languages, Indonesia is indeed rich in terms of its status as multicultural nation.

The new banknote’s figure indeed aligns with the country’s motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or Unity in Diversity. It reflects the commitment to maintain unity without uniformity, and diversity without fragmentation.

The establishment of Youtef Bridge is intended to boost the economic development, especially in the potential economic area such as Skouw — Papua border areas. The construction of this bridge began on May 9, 2015 with the collaboration among various stakeholders. They include Indonesian Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Papua Province Government, and Jayapura City Local Government.

Some Rp 943, 6 billion was spent to construct the total of 11,6 kilometres of Youtefa Bridge which connects Jayapura City, Hamadi, and Muara Tami District. Mayor of Jayapura City Benhur Tommy Mano said that the choice of taking the pitures of Youtefa Bridge and young Papuan boy into the latest Rp 75, 000 banknote is a kind of special appreciation to Papua, especially for the past few years, this region has witnessed a robust infrastructure progress.

There is indeed a significant body of criticism about the failure of the central government to pay attention at the other targets such as human, social, and economic development. However, it is important to look at how accomplishing infrastructure targets have been the major approach for the central government to boost Papua’s development.

President Jokowi’s administration has developed various kinds of infrastructures in Papua, for instance airports and various roads including Trans-Papua road expected to ease the transportation of goods, logistics, and people movement’s in Papua.

However, in order to be sustainable, the central government’s ambitious development program in all aspects should guarantee that there is a greater participation from the local communities since all of the development goals must be delivering long-term benefits to the local communities themselves.

Moreover, the infrastructure development has not been proven to solve some remaining issues in Papua during the past few years. Therefore, efforts must be seriously made, not only from the state actors such as central and local governments but also the local communities and all parties in Papua.

The purpose is how to find a common ground with a goal to achieve a more prosperous Papua. To this end, a constructive dialogue could be one of the most plausible ways to move forward. (*)

This piece fully represents the writer’s idea. It does not express any ideas or stances of specific institutions or organizations she/he works at or is affiliated with.

Enriching discourse and understanding. A protest to Indonesian govt that unsuccessfully serves the world fair info about West Papua.