By: PNG Business News November 19, 2023

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has met with the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), America’s development finance institution that funds private sector-based projects and businesses right across the world.

The Prime Minister met with Scott Nathan, Chief Executive Officer of DFC, in San Francisco on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit as he ended his meetings with members of the American business community.

Nathan, who was appointed by President Joe Biden himself to the role and confirmed in 2022 to head the American federal government agency, laid out the availability of DFC in financing businesses and developers of the Private Sector in countries interested in bettering themselves and their communities.

DFC scope covers Infrastructure, Energy, MSMEs, women’s economic empowerment, Agriculture, Health care, Forestry, Fisheries and other nature-based solutions. DFC also operates within a framework that promotes high standards through the observation of labour rights, and environment and social impacts.

While highlighting President Biden’s “big priority” to involve Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations into the reach of DFC, Mr Nathan admitted that DFC should do more to increase its visibility in PNG and the Pacific.

He also revealed that the agency has only very recently (last week) put out its latest ‘Expressions of Interest’ and “would love to have businesses from your country respond”.

He said, “It is a big priority for President Biden and the US Government to be more involved in and partner with Pacific Island nations. From our perspective, PNG is the place for us to do that because the other economies are too small for us to make that kind of investment.”

Prime Minister Marape was particularly interested in finding out about financing in the energy/power supply space, as well as in Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries areas, and welcomed DFC’s presence in PNG.

Already the agency has a small project in PNG which is in partnership with Mi Bank and Mr Nathan said DFC was looking forward to seeing this expand further.

Some big capital investment projects DFC has successfully funded in the recent past include the assistance to Australia in the financing of Telstra’s purchase of Digicel assets, a USD553 million port development in Sri Lanka (a private-public partnership project), and a USD24 million forestry project in Africa.

DFC only deals in the private sector, business and entrepreneurship development according to its charter, and stays away from government projects, unless the project is operated as an independent business away from government handling.

This meeting with the Prime Minister is a follow-up to an initial meeting DFC had with Pacific Island Forum leaders when PM Marape and his counterparts were in Washington DC to meet with President Biden for the first US-PIF summit a year ago.

PM Marape is now putting the agency in touch with the relevant ministries and arms of government to progress this further.

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