Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa emphasized the need to ensure the quality of health and intelligence of the nation to optimize the demographic bonus that Indonesia is projected to experience in the next decade.

"First, I believe we must enhance the capabilities of our human resources. Our national talents must be healthy," Monoarfa remarked during the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Annual Conference 2023 (SAC) Summer Soiree for Sustainability in Yogyakarta on Sunday (November 5).

The minister expressed hope that Indonesian children would be free from stunting, so they can grow and become healthy talents that can think and study well.

Stunting cases could negatively affect the thinking capabilities of those from the next generations of the nation, he noted.

"In addition, we cannot afford to get exposed to catastrophic and infectious diseases since they can cut our productive period. Hence, the first thing is to ensure that we are healthy. Secondly, we must be smart," he pointed out.

One can be rich in knowledge and materials and share them with others by diligently learning, he opined.

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He then encouraged young Indonesians to increase their intelligence and knowledge by feeding their curiosity by collecting information and learning various fields of study on digital platforms.

By doing so, Indonesian youths are expected to further bolster their communication and thinking skills, he stated.

A demographic bonus refers to a period when the number of people of the productive age, ranging between 15-64 years, is higher than that of individuals of the non-productive age group, or above 65 years of age, with the proportion of over 60 percent of the total population of a country.

Minister Monoarfa expressed optimism that Indonesia would be able to make the most of the demographic bonus by boosting the productivity of its people, enhancing the quality of human resources, and creating more job opportunities.

Young Indonesian people should be able to create job vacancies rather than merely searching for them.

"I want to challenge our young people to create job opportunities in order to break free from the tendency of merely searching for jobs. To that end, however, we need to enhance their capabilities," he emphasized.

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Translator: M Baqir, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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