ADB Scaling Up Assistance to PNG

By Stephen P. Groff

Vice-President Stephen Groff discusses the role of public-private partnerships, connectivity, and renewable energy in helping PNG meet its development goals.

Vice-President Stephen Groff discusses the role of public-private partnerships, connectivity, and renewable energy in helping PNG meet its development goals.

I’m here in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. We’ve just concluded a full day of meetings with members of the new government, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Treasurer and ADB Governor Charles Abel, as well as several senior officials in key government ministries.

ADB has been a long-standing development partner for PNG, providing support to the country since 1971. Today, we are the largest development partner in infrastructure, with a particular focus on the transport and energy sectors.

Over the last 50 years, PNG’s development landscape has undergone significant transformation. Our Country Partnership Strategy with PNG, focuses on:

  1. Boosting connectivity through critical investments in roads and civil aviation.
  2. Helping the country prepare for climate change by increasing investment in renewable energy.
  3. Increasing access to health care and financial services.

Within these focal areas, we have supported a number of notable projects, including the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program, which is improving 21 national airports and providing safer and more secure air transport services.

The ongoing Rural Primary Health Services Delivery Project, co-financed by the Government of Australia, is helping upgrade rural health clinics as well as train health workers  on obstetrics care and infectious disease management.

Looking to the future, ADB will continue to assist PNG in concrete ways.

First, given the vast resources and expertise of the private sector, ADB sees an important role for public-private partnerships in developing PNG’s infrastructure and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

In February, ADB and the PNG National Airports Corporation, or “NAC” signed a transaction advisory services agreement to develop a new international passenger terminal at Port Moresby—or Jacksons—International Airport, through a PPP. The new terminal will allow the airport to meet traffic demands over the next 30 years. 

The project is the first PPP transaction advisory engagement undertaken by ADB in both PNG and the Pacific as a whole. ADB will develop a bankable commercial structure; tender the project to international investors; and help NAC to award the concession and reach financial close.

Second, continuing to improve connectivity and growth are critical and the ADB-supported Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Program will upgrade the country’s most strategic national road, one that traverses the Highlands region, which is also PNG’s most populous and resource-rich territory.

Third, ADB is also planning a multi-tranche financing facility for renewable energy to help reach the government’s target of 70% electrification by 2030. Today, that number stands at only about 13% of PNG households that have access to electricity.

To finance these initiatives, ADB is scaling up its annual allocation to PNG to about $300 million between 2018 and 2020.

As we celebrate 46 years of partnership with PNG, ADB looks forward to strengthening relations with the government, the private sector, and the people of this beautiful country.