Children collecting water in a river 1 kilometer away from their home in Leuwi Ipuh Village, Lebak, Banten due to water crisis. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Bagus Khoirunas)

Indonesia's Human Development Improves, but Inequality Persists


DECEMBER 10, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia’s human development index has moved up to high category for the first time ever after being stuck on the medium category for the last twenty years.

The 2019 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reveals that Indonesia now ranks 111th out of 209 countries. The report is looking at inequalities in economy, health, education, and technology.

“There are two main messages from this report, first is that this is a huge achievement for Indonesia to be on the high HDI category. Second is that inequality is a big human development problem in the world, and it still exists in Indonesia,” Christophe Bahuet, representative of UNDP in Indonesia, said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Indonesia has improved a lot on all five indicators -- human development quality, gender gap, women’s empowerment, environmental sustainability, and socio-economic sustainability -- although there are still many underlying issues of inequalities. 

For example, while most Indonesians are expected to stay in school for 12.9 years according to the finding in the report, there are still many young Indonesians who cannot continue their education to high school, UNDP economist Rima Prama Artha said.

Many regions are still in a distance from the government’s massive infrastructure projects, leaving their people without access to proper healthcare and education, she said.

“The government has done its best but [the infrastructure development] cannot entirely reach thousands of islands in Indonesia,” Rima said.

She suggested that the government turn to technology to improve access to health and education for people in remote regions.

“It could be a solution to provide health access and education to remote regions. Technology also opens new opportunities for job creation and service,” Rima said.