PORT MORESBY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is deepening its infrastructure development partnership with Papua New Guinea with a strong focus on transport upgrades to link isolated areas to larger centers, open up new economic opportunities, and reduce poverty, says an ADB performance review released today. 

The Papua New Guinea Development Effectiveness Brief says cumulative ADB assistance to the country has grown sharply from $1.27 billion in 2009 to $2.13 billion in 2015, with the active portfolio of projects, programs, technical assistance, and private sector operations, reaching $1.04 billion at the end of 2015. 

“We have been engaged with PNG for 45 years and in that time the partnership has rehabilitated transport infrastructure, improved air safety, provided basic health services to the rural population, extended financial services to the unbanked, and removed barriers to jobs and business creation,” said Marcelo Minc, ADB Country Director in Papua New Guinea.

The report notes that ADB is deepening its partnership for infrastructure development through closer engagement with provincial governments to implement projects. Provincial governments are important stakeholders and can be critical drivers of change, the report says. 

ADB’s operations are concentrated in the rural areas of the Highlands, the region with the highest incidence of poverty. Among key activities are transport upgrades, including roads, bridges, airports and ports. One major initiative is the Civil Aviation Development Investment Program, which is improving 21 national airports to provide safer, more secure, and all-weather services.

ADB has scaled up assistance for clean energy, and is supporting private sector development reforms to create a more business-friendly enabling environment. It is also working with the Government of Australia and other partners to help PNG improve the quality and coverage of its health services, and boost access to financial services in remote areas. 

PNG is ADB’s largest borrower in the Pacific region, with an active portfolio that includes 19 loan and grant projects, 8 technical assistance projects, and 2 private sector loan and equity operations.

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, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.

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