CEFI signs MOU supporting the DEFINE Initiative
by PNG Business News - September 28, 2021
Photo credit: CEFI
CEFI, the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PNGX Markets, the PNG Digital ICT Cluster and Emerging Venture Management (Unkapt), together the proponents of the DEFINE Initiative, to provide for a framework of cooperation and communication.
To achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the country, one of the initiatives to implement work on the Fintech space is the Developing Financial Markets for Enterprises in the Pacific Islands (DEFINE) Initiative that is being spearheaded by partners which includes Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI), with PNGX Markets, the PNG Digital ICT Cluster and Emerging Venture Management (Unkapt).
The objective of the DEFINE Initiative is to contribute to the development of financial markets, products, and services for – aligned enterprises in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Island countries, with the ultimate goals of diversifying their sources of capital and enhancing access to finance. This includes the establishment of specialist SME funding facilities for debt, debt-like, and equity-like investments in SDG-aligned private enterprises which demonstrate governance, performance, return and impact potential with a special focus on Women-led enterprises, clean energy initiatives, agribusinesses, and businesses in the ICT sector.
Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe, Executive Director for CEFI expressed his views on the journey taken to be working with and supporting the DEFINE Initiative. He further stated that the objectives of the DEFINE Initiative are very well aligned with those of CEFI and together is hopeful that the collaboration of all parties can deliver greater financial inclusion, financial literacy and business capability to the SME sector.
PNGX Chairman Mr. David Lawrence stated that a key objective of the DEFINE Initiative is to strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking and financial services for all, in particular women and the vulnerable, and their integration into value chains and markets. Mr. Lawrence elaborated that as a locally driven initiative, CEFI will be a key partner for meeting our objectives within Papua New Guinea and using the experience gained to export financial services and financial access across the Pacific.
Article courtesy of CEFI
PNG Business News - July 08, 2021
CEFI and Department Sign MOU
Photo Credit: Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion Facebook Page The Department of Community Development and Religion's Informal Economy Section recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Center of Excellence and Financial Inclusion (CEFI) that will provide a new collaboration pathway for training and education of Informal businesses and vendors in order to help them graduate and grow into the SME Sector. The cooperation agreement signed by interim Department Secretary Jerry Ubase and CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe would pave the way for joint efforts in providing individuals with Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Training through the District Community Development Centre (DCDC). Ubase praised CEFI's work with the department on behalf of Minister Wake Goi, and spoke about how the relationship will benefit the lives of participants in the Informal Economic Corridors. “My department recognises and embraces partnership and collaboration in delivering protection and empowerment services to people. “This MoU signing is yet another milestone to assist the government of the day to achieve its vision of growing the economy through informal business and SME. “As a responsible government department, we will continue to create dialogue and partnership with stakeholders such as CEFI to create an enabling environment for people in the informal economy to access necessary services,” Ubase said. Warren Marape, Acting Deputy Secretary, Community Development Division, described the MOU signing as a big step forward for the Department in addressing the country's financial literacy needs. “The participants in the informal economy are in a dire need of this service so they can venture into SME. “And we will make sure to deliver this significant program at the DCDC beginning with Imbonggu after the official opening on September 17, 2021. Saliya Ranasinghe, CEFI's Executive Director, commended the department for partnering with them (CEFI). “The diverse setup of financial institutions is meant for people to partner with and everyone has to patronise that. “To do that, Financial Literacy is the first step to moving towards your financial goals and direction. “We are looking forward to working closely with the department to push the goal of transiting the participants at the informal sector into the formal sector,” Saliya said. Representatives from the North Fly District Development Authority, the Imbonggu District Development Authority, the media, department officials, and CEFI were present during the signing of the MoU at Sambra Haus in Port Moresby. Reference: Salmang, Grace Auka. Post-Courier (7 July 2021). “MOU by CEFI And Department To Boost Informal Sector”.
PNG Business News - October 04, 2021
CEFI & NRI sign research collaboration
(from left to right) PNG NRI, Deputy Director for Research Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo, NRI Acting Director Dr Osborne Sanida, CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe and CEFI Manager Communications and Stakeholder Mobilisation Eva Kuson following the signing of the MoU. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed today (24 September 2021) between the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe, and the PNG National Research Institute (NRI) Acting Director Dr. Osborne Sanida with the aim to consolidate and strengthen cooperation between the institutions. The NRI is a publicly-funded policy think-tank in PNG mandated by legislation to carry out independent research and analysis on development issues affecting PNG. The National Research Institute Act 1993, states that the functions of NRI include the following: (a) “The promotion of research into Papua New Guinea Society and the economy, and (b) the undertaking of research into social, political and economic problems of Papua New Guinea in order to enable practical solutions to such problems to be formulated.” (Section5, NRI Act, 1993). The NRI’s mission is to provide quality research which contributes to evidence-based public policies and decision-making processes that improve service delivery, leading to better quality of life for all Papua New Guineans. CEFI was established under the Association Incorporation Act and officially launched on 24th April 2013 serves as the industry apex organisation for coordinating, advocating and monitoring all financial inclusion activities in PNG. CEFI’s vision, mission and values focus on financial inclusion and literacy, poverty elimination and the promotion of vibrant financial institutional operation in PNG. The agreement reflects the mutual value both institution hold in terms of extension and strengthening of research exchange for the general benefit of Papua New Guinea. The partnership signals new research grounds into the country’s economic and social development, with special focus on the role of education in development, and the impact of economic and social change on education. Other research activities under the signed partnership will include exchange of research staff, joint research partnerships and co-hosting of seminars and workshops to disseminate research findings through networks of both organizations. CEFI Executive Director Mr Saliya Ranasinghe stated the partnership is in compliance with CEFI’s mandate on financial inclusion and literacy, poverty elimination and promotion of vibrant financial institutional operations in PNG. “The main areas of this agreement between CEFI and NRI will be on researching the impact of Financial Inclusion Activities, Digital Financial Services, Financial Literacy and Financial Education, Micro Insurance, SME and Agriculture Lending.” Mr Ranasinghe addressed at the signing event. “Synergies like the one between the CEFI and the PNGNRI contribute to the more effective research ecosystem that enriches both the education and economic sectors.” Mr Ranasinghe said. NRI Acting Director Dr. Osborne Sanida equally elated about the partnership states, “NRI as a policy think-tank in PNG looks forward to working closely with CEFI to provide practical solutions to financial inclusion constraints, and contribute evidence-based solutions to improve financial inclusivity for all Papua New Guineans.” “Close cooperation is needed between our institutions and the academic community in order to develop the necessary methodologies and to create the appropriate tools to enable CEFI to carry out their work effectively.” Dr. Sanida remarked. This MOU is effective today and will be renewed every five years between the institutions. Article courtesy of CEFI
PNG Business News - June 17, 2021
BPNG, CEFI, GGGI, and New Zealand team up for the development of an Inclusive Green Finance Policy for PNG’s banking sector
Papua New Guinea yesterday launched a new project to develop a National Inclusive Green Finance Policy for the banking sector to boost financial inclusion and guide public and private sector investment towards Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development. Bank of Papua New Guinea Assistant Governor Ellison Pidik representing Mr. Loi M Bakani, Governor of BPNG, H.E Dr. Nathan Ross New Zealand Acting High Commissioner to PNG, Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe, Executive Director, Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion and GGGI´s Deputy Director General Ambassador Jenny Kim, jointly initiated the project. Inclusive Green Finance is a new and evolving policy area that countries are beginning to devise and implement policies, regulations and national strategies to mitigate or build resilience to sweeping environmental, health, social and economic effects of climate change. The project will deliver two main outputs: first, a green taxonomy based on PNG’s goals and priorities; and second, and a diagnostic report on the state of green finance in PNG. Both are expected to steer financial flows (loans, equity, and guarantees) towards technologies and services that contribute to the government’s financial inclusion and green growth goals. Bank of Papua New Guinea Assistant Governor Ellison Pidik representing Mr. Loi M Bakani, Governor of BPNG pointed out, “We understand that dual threats of financial exclusion and climate change are recognized as key barriers to financial stability. As a member country of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), and implementing the work on Green Finance, we have identified Inclusive Green Finance (IGF) as a key priority area in the financial inclusion space. Similarly, Acting High Commissioner of New Zealand H.E. Dr. Nathan Ross stated that “Climate change is the most significant security and development issue facing the Pacific region, and we can only meet its challenges through collective action. This includes the private sector, and the Inclusive Green Finance Policy will be an important step towards helping businesses to contribute to PNG’s low-emissions, climate resilient development.” Ambassador Jenny Kim states GGGI´s role in the project will be on scaling up access to green finance, “we hope that this project will serve as a strong foundation for future cooperation between New Zealand MFAT, BPNG, CEFI, and GGGI for more ambitious and impactful cooperation on climate change.” At the event, an MOU was signed. The MOU between GGGI and CEFI is under the initiation of the regional program, Low Emissions Climate Resilient Development Program (LECRDP), a regional collaborative effort between GGGI, NZ/MFAT and the governments of Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji to support regional resilience and emissions reductions, by working with these Pacific Islands Countries to transition to inclusive, low emissions and climate resilient development.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas
Photo: PNG PM Marape Participates in PIF Leaders Breakfast Caucas Prior to the Korean-Pacific Islands Leaders (Kor-Pic) Meeting, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Marape joined other PIC Leaders for a breakfast caucus Chaired by Cook Islands Prime Minister and current Pacific Islands Forum Chair Mark Brown, to discuss the agenda and a common position on shared development issues. Prime Minister Marape said climate variation, being the perennial issue including sourcing appropriate development assistance from the Korean Government was high on the agenda. He said the encouragement during the caucus was for all PIC Leaders to discuss their developmental challenges and put forward their ideas on how Korean Development assistance could complement the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy. Following this caucus, Prime Minister Marape, met with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. Their discussions were centered around progress of the proposed Bilateral Security Treaty (BST), the recently concluded Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, Visa issues and the PNG NRL Bid. On the BST, Prime Minister Marape mentioned that it was work in progress and required the PNG side to consult our domestic processes and sovereign laws in relation to certain wordings and provisions. He also conveyed his apologies to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for the delay in formalising this proposed Treaty with Australia. For the DCA with the US, Prime Minister Marape informed that it was centered around improving the PNGDF's capabilities and interoperability including protecting our frontiers and sovereignty. He said it was non-discriminatory and PNG was open to entering into similar arrangements with its bilateral partners. “In fact, the DCA would also complement domestic law enforcement,” Prime Minister Marape said. “The Ship Rider Agreement on the other hand was also vital in combating illegal fishing and transnational crimes.” For Visa issues, Deputy Prime Minister Marles informed that the current Australian Government was fully aware of the situation and following the Ministerial Forum in February this year in Canberra, had established a Joint Ministerial Team to work on bringing the Australian visa processing facility back on shore to PNG. Prime Minister Marape in his response said that all processes from both sides had to be attended to in order for smooth facilitation and for citizens and businesses to continue without much hindrance now and heading into 2050 when PNG celebrates 50 years of nationhood. On Papua New Guinea’s NRL Bid, Prime Minister Marape explained that PNG was still very keen as rugby league was a major unifying factor, bringing our 800 tribes together as one people. In closing Prime Minister Marape assured Deputy Prime Minister Marles that PNG in no way would compromise its excellent existing bilateral relations with Australia and further stressed that PNG was capable of managing its sovereign affairs on its terms, systems and processes.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
ADB Helps Launch Vocational Education Project in PNG
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) today launched a cofinanced project to improve the country’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program. PNG's Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso delivered a keynote address at the launch event at Port Moresby Technical College. PNG’s Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, and Sports Don Polye, ADB Country Director for Papua New Guinea David Hill, and Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann all spoke at the event. The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project financed by ADB and the governments of Australia and PNG will strengthen the country’s TVET program and help prepare students to be more competitive and responsive to employment and industry demands. “We hope this project will become a model for all vocational education and skills training in TVET colleges in the country,” said Mr. Rosso. “The beneficiaries of this project—young, skilled workers, including women and men—represent PNG’s future, and through this project, the future of vocational education in PNG looks bright.” This project aims to boost the numbers of skilled workers in the construction and agriculture sectors where demand is high. “We will work with our partners to help advance reforms in the vocational education and skills training space in PNG,” said Mr.Hill. “These sought-after skills in priority sectors will help grow PNG’s economy.” The TVET sector of PNG’s education system comprises public, religious, or private institutions, including technical and business colleges offering postsecondary courses and vocational training. “The Australian government is pleased to be supporting the Government of Papua New Guinea to achieve its reform goals in technical and vocational education and training to increase the number and quality of skilled workers,” said Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Paul Lehmann. “My vision for the TVET for Employment Project is that it will perform as an innovation and technology business incubator across PNG,” said Mr. Polye. “The project is the embodiment of a new approach—building a culture of quality education and innovation in a renewed and revitalized TVET sector.” The Improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Employment Project is funded through a $50 million concessional loan from ADB and a $10.6 million grant from Australia. The Government of PNG is also contributing $5.7 million. ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
PNG Business News - June 05, 2023
PNG Forges an Innovation-fueled Partnership with South Korea in Digital Transformation
Papua New Guinea was amongst seven other Pacific Island countries to sign a partnership statement of intent with the Republic of Korea to further cooperation and partnership in digital transformation. Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu, who also was appointed co- chair of the just concluded Korea -Pacific Islands Digital Ministerial Conference in Seoul, South Korea, signed the statement together with the meeting chairman Korean Minister for Science and ICT Dr Lee Jong-Ho. The others who signed the partnership intent are Tonga, Nauru, Samoa, Palau, Cook Islands and Kiribati. Australia and the World Bank also attended the meeting as supporting partners. The Statement of Intent states; The partnership recognize digitalization has transformed not only daily lives but also shapes innovation in all sectors including politics, economy, society, culture and environment. Recognize and note that digital technology offers great potential to address various social economic challenges that come with rapid transformation of society. Agree on continued partnership in digital transformation inclusive of sustainable development will be the key to future prosperity of the people of Korea and the pacific. Agree on sharing digital vision of policies will pave way for strong partnership to digital co-prosperity. Mr Masiu expressed deep satisfaction that Korea , the global leading innovation country, has agreed to partner with Pacific countries including Papua New Guinea in digital transformation that will greatly enhance communication in a vast area like the Pacific and more so, strengthen supporting technology to better access to health, education and business. He told the conference that Papua New Guinea has begun the digital transformation with Parliament passing the Digital Government Act 2022 and relevant policies, and welcomed the partnership with the Republic of Korea, which he says, will go a long way in progressing the digital transformation agenda for PNG and the region. Mr Masiu had bilateral meeting with his South Korean counterpart, further seeking a stronger country to country relations in digital transformation and support to the National Broadcasting Corporation proposing a partnership between the NBC and the Korean Broadcasting Services. The Minister has formally invited the Korean Minister for Science and ICT to visit Papua New Guinea for the Pacific ICT meeting in August 2023 or to accompany the South Korean President who has been invited by Prime Minister James Marape to visit PNG. Mr Marape was in Seoul also this week for the Korea- Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting. Minister Dr Lee Jong-Ho acknowledges the leadership of Papua New Guinea in digital transformation and reaffirmed its support to PNG and the other Pacific Island countries.