MADANG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – More than 3,000 residents of Madang Province celebrated the completion of a financial literacy course today, bringing the total number of course graduates to almost 100,000.
The course is part of the Microfinance Expansion Project, an initiative supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). Today’s graduation ceremony, at Muglic Catholic Church Mission Station, was led by Benny Popoitai, Deputy Governor of the Bank of PNG and chairman of the project’s steering committee, with Christopher Gibson, Second Secretary of the Australian High Commission, and representatives from the national and provincial governments, and the Bank of PNG, also in attendance.
“The Microfinance Expansion Project is providing fundamental financial knowledge to huge numbers of rural people,” said Mr. Popoitai. “This will enable them to open bank accounts and, potentially, access credit and start businesses, thereby spurring economic activity.”
The project, which was launched in April 2012, aims to increase financial inclusion in PNG and provide financial literacy training to 130,000 people by the end of 2018. It recognizes the need to support the financial and social empowerment of women, with women making up almost half of all trainees to date.
“Having women make up almost 50% of the participants is a key achievement of this project,” said Andrea Iffland, ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office Regional Director. “The knowledge women get and share with others will help get more women banked and engaged in the formal economy.”
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.