Australia Increases Funding for ADB Private Sector Initiative in PNG

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The FINANCIAL — The Government of Australia has agreed to provide an additional $8 million to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) initiative to support private sector development in Papua New Guinea (PNG), ADB announced on June 16.

The new funding for the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) will enable PSDI to respond to increased demand in PNG for assistance in a number of the initiative’s core work areas, such as boosting access to financial services, improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of infrastructure services, developing competition frameworks, and promoting women’s economic empowerment, according to ADB.

“This grant substantially increases the resources available to PSDI to foster economic development in PNG,” said Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Sydney, Australia. “It represents a strong commitment from the Australian Government to the economic security of PNG, and a renewed endorsement of the support PSDI is providing to help realize this.”

The additional financing was made available today after ADB endorsed a change to PSDI detailing which areas the funds would support. It brings Australia’s total contribution to the initiative to $32 million.

“The Australian Government’s aid policy places private sector-led economic growth at the heart of the aid program,” said Deborah Stokes, Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea. “One of the core focus areas of PSDI is promoting the economic empowerment of women. This is very important for PNG as it leads to much wider improvements in the lives of families and communities as a whole.”

In PNG, PSDI has supported a range of reforms, including the passage of the Personal Property Security Act; the Public Private Partnership Act; a community service obligation policy; amendments to the Independent Public Business Corporation Act; and the introduction of the country’s first mobile banking service. This additional support will further supplement the existing programs in PNG in recognition of the broader business environmental challenges faced in the country.

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High-level policy dialogue between PSDI and the Government of PNG is ongoing on topics such as greater transparency and private sector participation in state-owned enterprises; private investment in, and operation of, new infrastructure; developing financial products to raise capital for small and medium-sized enterprises; and the economic empowerment of women.

PSDI is working with ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business, and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. It is cofinanced by the Government of Australia, the Government of New Zealand and ADB.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.

 

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