A Papua New Guinean economist has put forward a proposal to open up the whole island of New Guinea for trade purposes.
Charles Yala is the director of the National Research Institute, a PNG government funded think tank, based in Boroko.
His opinion piece argues that both Indonesia and Papua New Guinea would benefit from opening up their land borders for trade purposes.
The proposal suggests an East-West highway or rail link from Timika in Indonesia’s Papua Region to Lae on PNG’s northern coast. It also suggests a north-south link along the border from Jayapura and Vanimo to Merauke in the south.
Dr Yala says geographically the island of New Guinea is ideally situated to provide a North/South trade link between Australia, New Zealand and the fast growing economies of South East Asia.
“Knowing very well that there are social, political, cultural, environmental, topographic engineering challenges and the funding to do that I just decided that look, let me put up this idea and see what the public thinks about it and see if there is a way to promote this idea and see if that is possible and we can raise a discussion,” said Dr Yala.
Charles Yala said his proposal would tie in neatly with Australia’s ‘Our North, Our Future’ policy as well as China’s ‘Maritime Silk Road’ policy.