UNDP Launches a Policy Dialogue Series on Narrowing Digital Divide in Indonesia

May 11, 2023

UNDP Indonesia held its first of the policy discussion series on digitalisation and inclusion on Thursday, 11th May 2023.

UNDP Indonesia

Jakarta, May 11, 2023 –The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a series of policy dialogues on inclusive digital transformation in Indonesia. Featuring speakers from civil society organizations and the private sector, the event, titled “Closing the Gap: Digital Divide in Indonesia," discussed the vast digital landscape in the country and sought solutions to ensure a more inclusive strategy that allows equal access.

As part of efforts working with Indonesia to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), UNDP focuses on digitalization, strategic innovation and development financing, the three-part dialogue series will also explore issues of digital ethics and standards as well as polarization in the digital sphere. The dialogues will be accompanied by analysis featuring insights from various stakeholders.

In opening remarks, Mr. Norimasa Shimomura, Resident Representative of UNDP Indonesia acknowledged the power of digital technology in enhancing quality of life and called for greater focus on ensuring more inclusive access.  “Does digital technology promote people’s empowerment and meaningful inclusion?” he asked. “Every person deserves equal access to digital technology and services, regardless of their socio-economic status and geographical locations - and realizing that maximizes Indonesia’s socio-economic potential,” he added.

Mr. Eric Alexander Sugandi, Senior Economist, discussed his research on Indonesia significant digital transformation and called for a multistakeholder response. “Policies to narrow digital divide must take into account all aspects of digital divide (geographical, gender, generational, and education) as well as the unique condition in every region in Indonesia,” he said.

Ms. Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), emphasized the urgency of digital transformation for the national economy. "We have to seize the momentum of the demographic bonus to escape the middle-income trap. Digital transformation, which includes digital talent as well as infrastructure, is one of the six strategies that we can pursue to accelerate our economic growth,” she said.

Ms. Siti Azizah, Deputy of Entrepreneurship at the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Ministry, said that the pandemic almost tripled the number of SMEs on the digital economy from around 8 million before the pandemic to more than 21 million. The Indonesian government is aiming to have 30 million SMEs in the digital economy by 2024 out of more than 60 million SMEs in the country. “64 percent of all the SMEs in Indonesia are run by women, however their income is still smaller compared to their male counterparts and their digital literacy is probably only half that of men,” she said.

Ms. Fransisca Novita, Livelihood Team Leader at Wahana Visi Indonesia, which focuses on digital literacy from the grassroots level, shared the difficulties faced by people in remote areas due to lack of digital infrastructure. “We have around 600 grassroots communities in Indonesia, but only around half of them have access to the internet. Even though our apps can be used in both offline and online mode, it is still very challenging,” she said.

Ms. Lenny Nurhayati Rosalin, Gender Equality Deputy at the Women Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, called for collaboration among the ministries. “We have to reduce the silos and work together on this issue based on each institution’s KPI,” she said.

To delve deeper into the inclusive digital transformation in Indonesia, UNDP Indonesia will hold two more policy dialogues in the upcoming months under the themes of Digital Ethics and Standards, and Polarization in the Digital Society.

The results of the three dialogues will be published in a policy think piece to be launched later this year.


Media Contacts

UNDP Indonesia Senior Advisor Juliaty Ansye Sopacua Juliaty.Sopacua@undp.org