Papua New Guinea needs reliable national transport networks to unlock its economic potential. The majority of the country's population lives in rural or remote areas. Better connectivity will give them access to social services and places where new economic opportunities thrive.
ADB is working with the government and its development partners to refurbish and build new roads, bridges, ports, and airports across Papua New Guinea. Working with ADB provides access to technical support, policy development, and concessional financing for long-term transport projects.
"Connecting Papua New Guinea through Reliable Transport Networks" is the last installment in the Papua New Guinea-ADB partnership video series. The series presents ADB's contributions to the development of Papua New Guinea's energy, health, and transport sectors, as well as its drive for financial inclusion and private sector-led development.
ADB and Papua New Guinea have been working together since 1971. And the partnership continues to grow.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea—Agriculture. Natural resources. Tourism. These are the sectors driving investment and creating jobs in Papua New Guinea. Pushing each sector to the next level of development will require better connectivity.
“We live at the foot of the highest mountain, Mt. Wilhelm. I do fish farming, I do tourism, and I do agriculture. Six months of the year we can’t commute because of the problems of the road. Landslide is very big, a major one. And it cut us off from the rest during wet season,” shares Betty Higgins, a businesswoman in Simbu Province, Highlands Region.
The remote Highlands Region is home to about 40% of the country’s population. The 1,200-kilometer Highlands Highway is the nation’s transportation backbone, connecting millions to economic opportunity and social services. But the road is in poor condition and costly and challenging to maintain.
“We are transporting fuel, fuel products and cargo for The Highlands Provinces. When the trucks have problems on the road we have security problem and then it’s costing much,” laments Enoch Kilawe, Operations Supervisor, IPI Transport, Mt. Hagen.
ADB is supporting improvement of the Highlands Highway through more than $800 million multi-project, multi-year program of support.
It is part of the government’s plan to build a safe and efficient transport network that meets the needs of Papua New Guineans.
Better airport infrastructure is critical to expanding business opportunities.
“At NAC, we have a strategy that fits into the greater transport strategy. We are looking at the four regions and main airports where we want to really get 737s into. We are looking at a system where the roads and the ports end is where the airports take off. We see that it’s a catalyst for economic growth and social well being,” shares Richard Yopo, CEO and Managing Director, National Airports Corporation.
Together with development partners, ADB investments are helping build and maintain this critical infrastructure.
“The engagement with Asian Development Bank is accessing technical support, policy development based on their experience, and of course, concessional financing to help us create the envelope to support our budgets as part of that process of acceleration,” states Charles Abel, Deputy Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea.
ADB investments are helping refurbish about 1,400 kms of roads, upgrade 21 airports, repair 29 bridges, and construct 32 maritime navigational aids.
Better transport connectivity will boost trade and improve access to social services Papua New Guinea.
“I can see the green light at the end of the tunnel, especially those of us in the remote areas. A good road will improve our livelihood and it will keep us back home,” Higgins anticipates.