Austrade, in partnership with Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I), is leading a 21 member infrastructure mission to Papua New Guinea next week to highlight growing business opportunities in the market.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is probably best known for its opportunities in the mining and resources sectors.
But this mission, planned from September 20-22, is designed to identify and target opportunities in the infrastructure sector, including those being financed by the major international aid donors.
David Knapton, Austrade’s Port Moresby-based Senior Trade Commissioner, said PNG like Australia is resource rich and, while this will remain a focal point for many Australian companies, there are significant infrastructure opportunities that should also be considered.
“Much of the infrastructure in PNG is old and in need of replacement or more effective maintenance. Improving roads, ports and airports will help to open up this country for a variety of industries,” said Mr Knapton.
“The PNG Government remains committed to the development of infrastructure. With support from its key development partners, it plans to spend a significant amount of money on infrastructure projects in the transport, energy, water, communications and construction sectors over the next two years.
“Australia is well placed to provide the products and services needed to participate in new projects or assist in maintaining the existing infrastructure.”
The PNG Government has allocated more than Kina 650 million (around A$275 million) in its 2016 Supplementary Budget for the maintenance and construction of roads, development of the power grid, hospital and airport upgrades, an enhanced communications network and some early preparations for APEC 2018.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the largest contributor of multilateral aid to PNG, is focused on enhancing key infrastructure through investment in areas like transport, energy, telecommunications and health. The World Bank is also considering additional projects in energy, water and sanitation and transport.
Robust economic growth
Mr Knapton said large engineering firms as well as smaller providers of relevant goods and services are well placed to consider these opportunities.
In some cases they can start on a small scale and then expand their business activities in accordance with project needs.
Although PNG has experienced over a decade of comparatively robust economic growth, with expanding formal employment opportunities and growth in government expenditure and revenues, the fall in global commodity prices has impacted the economy heavily.
Despite the current challenging operating environment, PNG still presents a real opportunity for exporters to build business with a country with strong, established links to Australia.
With this mind, Austrade is planning to lead a mining and oil and gas mission to PNG in late November.