State Borders as Center of Economic Growth: Case Study of the East Arso District in the Indonesia – Papua New Guinea Border


  • Paulus Mandibondibo Ottow Geissler University Papua
  • Suzanna Wanggai Border and Overseas Cooperation at the Papua Provincial Administration (BPPKLN)
  • Johni Korwa Cenderawasih University
  • Yulius Lada Ottow Geissler University Papua
  • Galuh Putri Utami Ottow Geissler University Papua
  • Barrisen Rumabar National Research University of Higher School and Economics in Russia
  • Didin Hardiansyah WRI Indonesia


This article aims to pinpoint the East Arso District’s existing economic conditions and identify factors contributing to devising the region as the center of economic growth in the Indonesia–Papua New Guinea (PNG) border. Data were collected through focus group discussion, observation, and a literature review conducted between October and November 2021. By using a qualitative approach, this study found that the East Arso District offers the potential to be developed as the center of economic growth in the Indonesia–PNG border. The region community’s commodities are considered including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and livestock goods. The scope of the study also examines the condition of PNG’s neighboring communities in Sandaun Province, road infrastructure, and cross-border and security. This article proposes a model of economic development for the East Arso District: the establishment of Transnational Border Posts (PLBN), border market, road infrastructure, a multi-purpose cooperative society and improvement of access to commodities, education, and health. Additionally, the plans to create the East Arso district the center of economic growth are also expected to strengthen ties and cooperation between Indonesia and PNG, which, in turn, can prevent misunderstanding and conflict in the future.



Border; East Arso; Indonesia; Keerom; PNG


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Paulus Mandibondibo, Ottow Geissler University Papua

Paulus Mandibondibo is an active lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry, and Marine, Ottow Geissler University Papua. He completed his Master’s Degree from Southern Cross University, Australia. He had an opportunity to attend International Conference/Meeting as a speaker, some of them are Third Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting (2021), Global Perspective on Urban Forestry (2020), International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecotourism, and Creative Economy (2018), World Forum Urban Forestry Conference in Mantova, Italy (2018)

Johni Korwa, Cenderawasih University

Johni R.V. Korwa is an active lecturer in International Relations, Faculty of Social and Political Science at Cenderawasih University in Papua. He holds a Master degree of Arts (International Relations) from Flinders University, Australia in 2016. Johni had an opportunity to attend a Master Summer School at Hiroshima University in Japan

Yulius Lada, Ottow Geissler University Papua

Yulius Gae Lada is an active lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry, and Marine Ottow Geissler University Papua. He holds a Master of Science (Technology of Agriculture) from Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia 2014. While working in the University, Yulius is also active in helping Papua Government develop Agriculture and plantations sectors in Papua; one of them is working together with farming to improve the productivity of Cacao Plantations in several places in Papua

Galuh Putri Utami, Ottow Geissler University Papua

Galuh Putri Utami is an active lecturer at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Ottow Geissler University Papua. She holds a Master of Science at Jendral Soedirman University. While working as a lecturer at University, Galuh is also active in helping the local Government with several projects related to identifying traditional medicine from several places in Papua Province. He is also involved in attending several conferences and seminars; one of them is International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecotourism, and Creative Economy (ICBE) 2018-Manokwari

Barrisen Rumabar, National Research University of Higher School and Economics in Russia

Barrisen Rumabar is pursuing his Master Degree at National Research University of Higher School and Economics in Russia. He completed his Bachelor Degree in Political Science (International Relations) from Cenderawasih University in 2012. His research interests focus on issues in the Asia Pacific region including transnationalism, border issues, environment and human rights

Didin Hardiansyah, WRI Indonesia

Didin Hardiansyah is a spasial planning consultant at World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Science and Technology Papua, Jayapura. With WRI Indonesia, he is currently working to help the Government of Papua Province in the licensing review of several timbers and palm oil plantations in Papua. He is also active in several spatial planning projects in Papua Province. Before joining the WRI, he worked for WWF Indonesia as a spatial planner


Amnesty International. (2022). 'Gold Rush' Indonesia's Mining Plans Risk Fueling Abuses in Papua.

Anuar, A. R., & Harun, A. (2019). Malaysia-Indonesia Cross-Border Governance: Is There a Trade-off between Security and Economic Development? Journal of International Studies, 15, 21–34.

Blades, J. (2020). West Papua: The Issue That Won't Go Away For Melanesia. Lowy Institute.

BPS Distrik Arso Timur. (2019). Distrik Arso Timur Dalam Angka 2019.

BPS Distrik Arso Timur. (2021). Distrik Arso Timur Dalam Angka 2021.

BPS. (2021). Jumlah Penduduk Miskin (Ribu Jiwa) Menurut Provinsi dan Daerah 2020-2021.

Druce, S.C. (2020). Political Impasse vs Economic Development: A History and Analysis of the West Papua Conflict in Indonesia. In M. Oishi (ed.), Managing Conflicts in a Globalizing ASEAN: Incompatibility Management Through Good Governance (pp. 89-116). Springer.

Edyanto, C. B. H. (2007). Pengembangan Ekonomi Kawasan Perbatasan Negara Di Kalimantan Barat. Jurnal Sains Dan Teknologi Indonesia, 9(3), 120–129.

Edyatama, E. (2021). Mendagri Tito Ingin PLBN Sota Bisa Jadi Pusat Pertumbuhan Ekonomi. Tempo. Retrieved from

FGD Dengan Masyarakat Arso Timur. (2021).

Hermawan, E. (2019). Community Empowerment through Management of Village Funds Allocation in Indonesia. International Journal of Science and Society, 1(3), 67–79.

Ibrahim, A., Alang, A.H., Madi., Baharuddin, Ahmad, M.A., & D. (2018). Metdodologi Penelitian. Makassar: Gunadarma Ilmu.

Imandiar, Y. P. (2021). PLBN Sota Diproyeksi Jadi Pusat Pertumbuhan Ekonomi Baru di Papua. DetikNews. Retrieved from

Imigrasi Jayapura. (15 August 2019). Pertemuan Khusus RI-PNG Tentang Pencegahan Dan Pemberantasan Peredaran Ganja Dan Narkoba Pada Daerah Perbatasan Dibawah Kerangka Kerjasama Sister City Tahun 2019.

Ma’rif, S. (2012). Rural Development Strategy for Border Regions, Case Study: Border Regions of the Republic of Indonesia and Ambenu the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Tata Loka, 14(1), 75–89.

Maryen, K.C., Womsiwor, Y., & Renyoet, C.C. (2021). Participation of Indigenous Papuan Women at the Skouw Border Market, Indonesia-PNG. Papua Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, 1(2), 73-84. DOI: 10.31957/pjdir.v1i2.1794

Nugroho, A. (2021). Bupati Keerom dan Papua Muda Inspiratif (PMI) Tanam Jagung di Lahan Eks Sawit. Lintas Papua. Retrieved from

Observation. (2021). Observation in East Arso District.

Pascal Norotouw. (2017). Indonesia-PNG Border Security. The University of Waikato.

Patton, M. Q. (2005). No Title. Encyclopedia of Statistics in Behavioral Science.

Paulus, C.A., Azmanajaya, E., Pellokila, M.R., & Paranoan, N. (2019). Prospective strategies for sustainable local economic development in support of the SDGs' goals "inclusive and sustainable economic growth" in the border region of Indonesia – Timor Leste, Belu Regency, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1464. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1464/1/012053

Prasetyo, B.A., Priyarsono, D.S., & Mulatsih, S. (2013). Infrastructure, Economic Growth and Inequality in Indonesia Land Borders. Economic Journal of Emerging Markets, 5(2), 99-108. DOI:

Presentasi Bappenas. (2021). Pembangunan Nasional Pada Kawasan Perbatasan Negara di PLBN Keerom (Zoom Meeting).

Pramono, M. A. K. & R. W. W. (2019). Pertimbangan Dalam Menentukan Program Pengembangan Kawasan Perbatasan Negara di Provinsi Nusa Tenggara Timur. Prosiding SNDI, 692–696.

Presidential Instruction Number 1 of 2021 concerning the Acceleration of Economic Development in State Border Areas in Aruk, Motaain, and Skouw.

Sanak, Y. (2012). Penguatan Human Security sebagai Strategi Pengelolaan PerbatasanIndonesia-Malaysia. Jurnal Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik, 16(2), 125-135.

Santoso, S. B. (2020). Satgas TMMD Bantu Warga Kampung Kibay Mandiri Pangan. CendanaNews. Retrieved from

Sasongko, I., Reza, M., & Elabi, N. (2018). Development Strategy of Indonesia-Papua New Guinea Border Market as Shopping Tourism in Muara Tami Distrik Jayapura-Papua. Jurnal Neson Elabi, 1–11.

Silverman, D. (2016). Qualitative research. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Statistics. (2021). Statistik Daerah Kabupaten Keerom Tahun 2021. Retrieved from

Sunarya, A., & Sudaryono, S. (2016). The Strategic Issues Of Economic Development Of Border Area Of Indonesia - Malaysia (Study Case of Entikong Sub-District of West Kalimantan). CICES (Cyberpreneurship Innovative and Creative of Exact and Social Science), 2(2), 110–121.

Tanious, M. E. (2019). The impact of economic interdependence on the probability of conflict between states: The case of “American–Chinese relationship on Taiwan since 1995â€. Review of Economics and Political Science, 4(1), pp. 38-53. DOI: 10.1108/REPS-10-2018-010

The Law of the Republic of Indonesia (RI) Number 43 of 2008 about Country Territory.

Widjojo, M.S., Elisabeth, A., Rahab, A.A., Pamungkas, C., & Dewi. R. (2010). Papua Road Map: Negotiating the Past, Improving the Present, and Securing the Future. Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia.

WWF. (2000). Biodiversity Hotspot.