AusAID and the business community in PNG have pledged to do more work together to support economic growth and development for all in this fast-growing Pacific nation.
AusAID Deputy Director General James Batley opened discussions at the PNG Business Engagement Roundtable in Port Moresby on Saturday 13 April, saying Australia recognises that Papua New Guinea’s future prosperity depends on the strength of the private sector.
‘The business community is a valued partner of AusAID,’ said Mr Batley. ‘We are both investing in the future growth and development of PNG.
‘Today we have come together to find more effective and creative ways of working together to make those prospects a reality.’
Discussions at the roundtable, held on the eve of the Australia PNG Business Forum, aimed to ensure PNG’s poorest will also benefit from improving economic conditions in PNG.
Individuals from across the business community, including representatives from Oilsearch, Newcrest, the Business Council of PNG, Barrick Gold, and Westpac and ANZ banks participated in the roundtable, which was organised by AusAID in collaboration with the Australia PNG Business Council.
Mr Batley said he was impressed by the enthusiasm of delegates, who brought fresh ideas for new and innovative approaches to collaboration to the Roundtable.
Delegates discussed the strategic directions of the aid program; AusAID’s business model; ways in which the aid program could leverage innovations in business; and broader themes such as the challenges faced by women.
Mr Batley said the discussions were refreshingly open and frank, and all agreed there was a need to take the discussion forward in a structured way. AusAID committed to an ongoing structured engagement with the business community in PNG. AusAID will establish a working group with business to determine the best way to engage in the future, particularly in the areas of education, transport, ICT, and women’s empowerment.