While development in Indonesia has succeeded in improving the lives and welfare of the citizenry as a whole, the disparity between the western and eastern regions continues to expand at an extraordinary rate. This disparity has been identified as a critical problem.
Given the current situation, what is required is not regional development by sector, but a comprehensive approach to the region overall, particularly as the local governments have been assigned strengthened roles and power through the decentralization process. In the eastern part of Indonesia where the lower classes are concentrated, general regional development is being implemented with the object of achieving poverty alleviation through regional development. One specific example is the South Sulawesi Province Regional Development Program, covering the region in eastern Indonesia with the largest population. An integrated partnership for urban and rural developments as well as a multi-layered approach to the local government and community are being employed to address important problems in South Sulawesi Province, which has a history of much cooperation from Japanese. Problems being worked on include Mamminasata urban area development, South Sulawesi economic stimulation, and social development in the areas of education, community health and rural development.
Implemented in parallel with this program is the Northeastern Indonesia Regional Development Program, which began in 2007 to duplicate the results from South Sulawesi in six provinces on Sulawesi and two on the Maluku Islands. For the implementation of both programs, a Makassar Field Office has been established in the city of Makassar in South Sulawesi Province.