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New World Bank Group strategy for PNG

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Helping to manage risks to Papua New Guinea’s economic growth and ensuring more services for people currently missing out are key elements of the World Bank Group’s new 2019-2023 Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Papua New Guinea, endorsed today by the Board of Executive Directors.

The new five-year strategy is aligned with Papua New Guinea’s Third Medium-Term Development Plan and vision for the country’s future development. The strategy lays out three main focus areas for work by the World Bank Group’s member organizations, including the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which focuses on the private sector in developing countries; and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which offers political risk insurance and credit enhancement guarantees.

The three focus areas are: improve the country’s macro and fiscal resilience; ensure more effective and inclusive services, particularly in underserved areas; and encourage private sector growth and jobs in the non-resources sector. Strengthening governance in both the natural resources sector and across management of public resources underpins the strategy.

"PNG’s vast natural resources, tight-knit families and communities, and a young population, together with its geographic location on the edge of Asia, offer huge opportunities. However, the challenges PNG faces are equally significant. Much remains to be done to reduce inequality and to harness the country’s potential to ensure many more people benefit from growth - particularly women, youth and families in remote areas," said Michel Kerf, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

The new strategy recognizes the need to address drivers of risk and fragility in PNG, including the impact of climate change and natural disasters. It also recognizes that challenges in delivering services in PNG have taken a toll on people’s health and educational standards, particularly in remote and rural areas. With about 40 percent of PNG’s population under 15 years of age, the strategy also focuses on job creation.

"We’re focused on spurring private sector investments in PNG to help create new markets and jobs to diversify the economy away from its over-reliance on the extractives industry which is the central challenge facing the country. Greater private investment in areas like agriculture can help the 80 percent of people who’re trying to make a living from the land boost their production and connect with markets. IFC is also working with the World Bank and other development partners to help create new jobs in tourism and spur investments in energy, given the country’s critical energy needs. Under this strategy, IFC is also stepping up its efforts to help modernize PNG’s financial sector and grow its capital markets so more people and businesses can gain access to finance," said Thomas Jacobs, IFC Country Manager for PNG and the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.

The new strategy is underpinned by a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD), the World Bank Group’s comprehensive analysis of the opportunities and challenges for PNG to end extreme poverty and increase shared prosperity in a socially and environmentally sustainable way, and builds on consultations with national and provincial governments, the private sector, civil society and academia.

The strategy also builds on work undertaken under the previous Country Partnership Strategy (2013-2018) which has delivered benefits including employment training for more than 18,000 young Papua New Guineans through the Urban Youth Employment Project, support to more than 67,000 coffee and cocoa growers through the Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project, and access to basic solar lighting and phone charging for the first time for more than 1.8 million people through IFC’s Lighting PNG program.

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