European Union Signifies Role in PNG's Economy

by Paul Oeka - May 24, 2023


Recently, the European Union Delegation in Papua New Guinea was delighted to have Prime Minister James Marape deliver a speech during the Europe Day reception on the 9th of May 2023 at the Lamana Hotel in Port Moresby.

Ambassador Jacques Fradin, the Head of the EU Delegation to Papua New Guinea, stated in his speech: "Papua New Guinea continues to be a key partner for the EU's engagement with the Pacific against the background of a changing geopolitical context"

"EU acknowledges PNG's prominent role as a lead negotiator for the Pacific region with ongoing negotiations with other Pacific Island nations".

In his speech, Prime Minister Marape delivered a congratulatory address on behalf of the PNG Government and praised the excellent partnership and collaboration between the European Union and Papua New Guinea. 

The event was attended by diplomatic missions in PNG and representatives from both the PNG government and the private sector, including representatives from the civil society who joined the delegation at the official Europe Day Reception.

Brief History of the European Union and its progress in PNG

Since 1987 the European Union has been one of Papua New Guinea's biggest and oldest development partners and have enjoyed more than 40 years of partnership with the country.

Papua New Guinea has received over K2 billion in grants as development support from the European Union through the European Development Fund (EDF). 

Further support has also been provided through dedicated programs in relation to issues such as Law and Order, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and support to NGOs as well as community-based development projects throughout the country. 

The EU and its Member States are one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid and the biggest donor of international development aid in the world, providing around 50% of official development assistance to help overcome poverty and advance global development. 

Earlier this year, Ambassador Fradin stated the EU will spend more than K400 million in Papua New Guinea in the next three years. This grant is the largest in the Pacific and was one of the major dialogue agendas between EU and the PNG Government held in Port Moresby earlier this year. 

"The EU has spent over K2 billion on projects since 1987 and its not the money that counts but its what we do with the money, so in the next four years the EU will be spending almost K430 million on projects in the country which is the largest in the Pacific." 

"These are grants and they are not loans. We differ from other donors in PNG, if we invest, we invest for you. It is not about the money, it is what we build together and then you take over after", Ambassador Fradin said. 

EU's Projects and Programmes in PNG


This Program is locally known as EU STREIT PNG and is based on the development priorities of Papua New Guinea. The EU's Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trade in Papua New Guinea aims to improve sustainable and inclusive economic development and job creation in the Momase Region. 

In 2020 the European Union started the implementation of the EU STREIT programme which is a rural development action designed to revitalise existing economic opportunities particularly on the value chain development of cocoa, vanilla and fisheries mostly in the Sepik region, with a specific focus on women and youth and climate change.

EU-UNICEF National WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Policy

The European Union in partnership with UNICEF  has continued to support the PNG Government's WaSH policy, the objective of which is to provide equitable access to safe, convenient and sustainable water supply and sanitation, and to promote improved hygiene practices and long-term hygiene behaviour change at the personal, household, community and institutional level particular to rural and urban settlement areas.

Currently the 3-year 21.3 million euro EU-UNICEF water and sanitation project in Papua New Guinea is expected to benefit 160,000 people, including 40,000 children from 200 schools, 36 health centers and 800 neighboring communities in four Papua New Guinea districts. These include Hagen Central in Western Highlands Province, Goroka in Eastern Highlands, Naweab in Morobe, and Bougainville Central in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Additionally, the EU is also providing funding of K5.9 million to support Covid-19 response to access clean and safe water to vulnerable communities throughout the country. 

EU's Support to Education

For the last 10 years, the European Union and the Government of Papua New Guinea has been actively supporting education, including technical and vocational training, in PNG with a total grant funding of approximately K160 million. 

One recent development is the construction of infrastructure and the supply of equipment to 10 Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) centres throughout PNG. 

In 2022 the EU-PNG partnership for good governance and transparency had also been discussed and the European Union had designed its first EU Grant budget support worth K100 million to be assured and used for good governance, justice, and anti-corruption. 

“Under the EU-PNG Partnership for Good Governance, the European Union allocated approximately 100 million Kina for actions aiming at promoting good governance and the respect of the rule of law. The European Union stands by the PNG Government to progress core reforms to strengthen law and order, including support to police who enforce anticorruption laws,” said the EU Delegation to PNG. 

European Union's Contribution to PNG's Business Sector

One of the key benefits of EU membership is access to the single market, which allows for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the EU. This has helped to boost trade and investment between member states, creating jobs and economic growth. The EU also provides funding for various projects and initiatives, such as research and development, infrastructure, and social programs. [2]

Following the success of the previous three EU-PNG Business, Trade and Investment Conferences in 2019, 2021 and 2022, the Delegation of the European Union to PNG is likely to host another conference this year.

The focus of the conference is to help increase business contacts, discover new business opportunities, and find new collaboration partners between the EU and PNG, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Timor-Leste, with particular attention to trade and investment aspects of sustainable development. [2]

A practical dimension of the conference was how it concentrated on particular business sectors in PNG and the region and their development in a sustainable way.

European Union Stresses Importance of Informal Economy

In the context of Papua New Guinea, the urban informal sector is described as livelihood activities which include microenterprises or day-to-day livelihood activities such as selling, distributing, producing or manufacturing goods and providing services, either regularly or occasionally or on a needs basis and being carried out in unprescribed markets or areas such as streets, roadsides, in front of supermarkets or offices, at bus stops, and in yards of houses.

The current review of the Informal Economy Policy is implemented under the Markets Economic Recovery and Inclusion (MERI) program with funding from the Government of Australia, and European Union. 

Recently during a panel discussion at the National Markets Convention in April 2023 held at the Apec house in Port Moresby, the European Union’s Policy Coordinator for Economy, Public Finance Management and Trade, Carlos Padilla Perez, noted that for the policy to have an impact on the livelihoods of the people of Papua New Guinea, stakeholder involvement was a key inclusion at the time of implementation. 

Perez noted that the common issue raised in all regional consultations “was the lack of implementation of the former informal economy policy, which is undergoing review. These issues of implementation must be addressed strongly in the revision of this policy". 

The EU’s ultimate goal is to build stronger political relations with PNG, and the entire Pacific region, while supporting good governance, security and sustainable development.



1) European Day Reception, 9th May 2023 Hosted by the EU delegation to PNG at the Lamana Hotel, Port Moresby (Attended)

2) The European Union and Papua New Guinea - EEAS / (Press Releases) › europ...

3) Papua New Guinea: 5th high-level Political Dialogue with the European Union ... 27th February 2023| › eeas

4) EMTV Online /European Union to Fund Ten Selected Vocational Training Centres in PNG – EMTV Online

5) Papua New Guinea Today| Boost for Asset recovery and Corruption investigations in PNG 24 Nov 2022

6) National Markets Conventions 2023... 19-21 April 2023, Apec Haus, Port Moresby (Attended 21 April)

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