The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has endorsed a new country partnership strategy (CPS) for Papua New Guinea (PNG) covering 2021–2025. A blueprint for ADB’s operations in PNG, the new CPS focuses on developing the transport and energy sectors; reforming state-owned enterprises; promoting private sector development and investment; and assisting the government in achieving their development goals.
ADB’s Country Operations Business Plan for 2021–2023 accompanies the new CPS and presents an indicative lending program of $2.9 billion, including projects in the transport, energy, public sector management, education, water and sanitation, and finance sectors. ADB operations in the country will be significantly scaled up, with future support earmarked at $2.7 billion for 2021–2023, compared to the existing portfolio of $1.7 billion. There are also planned new interventions in technical and vocational education and training and social protection. In keeping with ADB’s Strategy 2030, the new CPS focuses on capacity development, project readiness, and institutional strengthening.
“PNG’s economy has been increasingly battered by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ADB Pacific Department Director General Leah Gutierrez. “ADB’s wider package of assistance through the CPS will immediately support stabilization of the fiscal situation and recovery efforts by improving public financial management, investing in essential infrastructure, and creating a more business-friendly environment.”
Support for the transport and energy sectors will account for more than 75% of new lending in the CPS period, with smaller interventions in water and urban infrastructure. A further 15–20% of lending is expected to support improvements in public sector management, likely through policy-based lending operations to assist economic and public sector reforms.
ADB will continue improving land, maritime, and aviation connectivity through rehabilitation work on the Highlands Highway and build on the success of the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program, which is improving the safety of 21 national airports. ADB will keep supporting PNG’s efforts towards achieving universal health coverage.
The CPS will help accelerate progress in gender equality. The Private Sector Development Initiative, cofinanced by ADB and the governments of Australia and New Zealand, is working with PNG to improve the environment for business and supports the economic empowerment of women in PNG.
The CPS was finalized during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which has added significant stress to the PNG economy.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.