THE PAPUA NEW GUINEA ADVANTAGE SUMMIT 2013
The annual Papua New Guinea Advantage investment summit, held in September 2013 in Port Moresby, revealed a wealth of opportunities for investors.
We report on PNG’S third annual international investment summit, held in Port Moresby in September 2013.
Now in its third year, the summit drew over 300 international and local delegates, plus a healthy media contingent, to focus on a wide range of business opportunities right across PNG’S economy, from gas and mining through to agribusiness, technology, fisheries, services and education.
PNG’S economy is still forging ahead
‘If this year we achieve GDP [growth] somewhere between 5 and 6 per cent, as we project, then I believe that will be an excellent outcome, and a real sign our economic management is on track,’ Prime Minister Peter O’neill told delegates, reminding them that this was in spite of low global commodity prices for many of PNG’S main exports.
As Australian ‘airport economist’ Tim Harcourt reassured delegates, there is plenty of life left in the Asian economic boom, with urbanisation and food consumption rising sharply in both China and India, and PNG well-placed to benefit.
ANZ PNG’S Managing Director Mark Baker agreed that the long-term forecast for the country is overwhelmingly positive, with Anz-funded research predicting a doubling of the economy by 2030.
PNG isn’t just mining and gas
The summit was remarkable for the sheer range of opportunities discussed.
Andrew Mcgrath, Nasfund’s General Manager Finance & Investments, said he was ‘bullish’ about agriculture and Kramer Ausenco’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Kramer, spoke of opportunities in training and services, while R D Tuna’s Pete Celso (see page 17) spoke enthusiastically of an expected trebling of processed fish production in PNG and the 13,500 new jobs that will come with it.
Meanwhile, Sundar Ramamurthy, shortly before his appointment as CEO of Bemobile, spoke of the range of new services that could be built around PNG’S new National Transmission Network, currently under construction, and CPL Group’s Mahesh Patel confirmed he was already planning for tablets and WIFI in his new supermarkets.
PNG Power’s newly-confirmed Chief Executive Officer John Tangit spoke of tangible progress in private sector involvement in energy supply (see page 38), while Public Enterprises Minister Ben Micah flagged the 10,000–12,000 MW Purari River hydropower project as his ‘nation building’ energy project.
The digital economy is on its way
Digicel PNG’S John Mangos estimated that 1.5 million Papua New Guineans could now access a form of the worldwide web through their mobile phones.
With both Digicel PNG and Telikom PNG investing heavily in 3G and 4G mobile and broadband infrastructure, speeds are going up and prices are coming down. Data costs were almost on a par with Australia, said Mangos, with 1 gigabyte of data costing AUD$40 in Australia and K85 in PNG.
As a glimpse of things to come, Twitter Australia digital strategist Marie Sornin briefed delegates on how the social media company was building the participation of business on its platform.
Risks can be controlled, good returns delivered
As Johnson Kalo, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of BSP (the country’s biggest mover of cash) noted, many risks in PNG were predictable and could be managed with appropriate strategies.
A special panel discussion on equity investment had Nambawan Super’s Michael Block and Nasfund’s Andrew Mcgrath setting out their funds’ cautious approach to choosing the right companies in which to invest, while Syd Yates outlined the investment policy of PNG’S only listed managed fund, Kina Asset Management Ltd.
Summit now a fixture
First held in Brisbane in 2011, the Papua New Guinea Advantage Summit is a co-production of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Business Advantage International.
‘The goal was to set up an annual event open to business people from any sector and any country, which focused on delivering good market intelligence and business opportunities,’ explains POMCCI’S Chief Executive Officer, David Conn.
The next Papua New Guinea Advantage investment summit is tentatively scheduled to be held in Port Moresby on 9 and 10 September 2014.