APEC up­date

The an­nual APEC Lead­ers’ Meet­ing will be held in Port Moresby in Novem­ber 2018. It is ex­pected to have a pro­found im­pact on the coun­try.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Contents - By Kevin Mcquil­lan

PNG is pre­par­ing for its big­gest ever event, the an­nual APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing, to be held in Port Moresby in 2018. It is ex­pected to have a last­ing im­pact.

For the first time since join­ing the Asia Pa­cific Eco­nomic Coun­cil in 1994, Pa­pua New Guinea will host APEC’S an­nual lead­ers’ meet­ing in the cap­i­tal, Port Moresby. It is to be held on the 12–18 Novem­ber, 2018.

‘There are two great op­por­tu­ni­ties to be re­alised from host­ing APEC,’ says David Toua, the Pres­i­dent of the Busi­ness Coun­cil of PNG (BCPNG).

‘The first is to in­vite peo­ple to our coun­try, and show­case its enor­mous po­ten­tial as an in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion. The sec­ond is to bring our peo­ple closer to the global mar­ket be­yond our bor­ders.’

Toua says the e-com­merce SME sum­mit hosted in Port Moresby in April, 2016, pro­vided ‘a glimpse of the en­tre­pre­neur­ial and tech­no­log­i­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties that our peo­ple and our busi­nesses can ac­cess.’

Is it worth it?

The ex­pe­ri­ence of other coun­tries that have hosted the event sug­gests ben­e­fits out­weigh the costs, claims Fran­cis Hualup­momi, a po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist at New Zealand’s Vic­to­ria Univer­sity in Welling­ton.

‘For in­stance, the Philip­pines, as a host of two APEC meet­ings (1995 and 2015), is cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a growth rate of eight per cent, par­tially as a re­sult of heavy in­vest­ment in be­tween those years.’

Hualup­momi points to in­creased in­vest­ment from tourists and busi­ness­men (which re­sults in job cre­ation), re­stored cred­i­bil­ity of the state as a host of fu­ture high-level meet­ings, the boost­ing of PNG’S so­cioe­co­nomic in­fras­truc­ture, and en­hanced de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity and ca­pac­ity. In the long-term, he says, the meet­ing will deepen PNG’S trade and in­vest­ments in the re­gion.

‘On track’

The na­tional gov­ern­ment has al­lo­cated K800 mil­lion for the event and prepa­ra­tions are ‘on track’, ac­cord­ing to PNG’S APEC Am­bas­sador Ivan Po­ma­leu. He says the Com­mit­tee on APEC Pol­icy Is­sues doc­u­ment has gone through four drafts. The sub­jects cov­ered are: en­hanc­ing re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion; sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive growth; struc­tural re­forms; and hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment. An events cal­en­dar will be ready in mid2017.

APEC Haus—lead­ers’ Con­fer­ence Cen­tre

The con­struc­tion of the pur­pose-built APEC Haus con­ven­tion cen­tre is ex­pected to be com­pleted by Au­gust, 2018. LNG pro­ducer Oil Search is car­ry­ing out the work, fi­nanced under a tax credit scheme.

APEC Haus is be­ing built on re­claimed land near Ela Beach. APEC Min­is­ter Justin Tkatchenko claims the unique de­sign of the fa­cil­ity, which re­sem­bles a Laka­toi sail, will ri­val other iconic world sites.

‘It will be just like what the Sydney Opera House is to Aus­tralia,’ he said.

APEC Haus will host the Lead­ers’ Sum­mit and the Lead­ers’ Di­a­logue with the APEC Busi­ness Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil.

Paga Hill Es­tate

A K85 mil­lion de­vel­op­ment at the new Paga Hill Es­tate will play a key role in ac­com­mo­dat­ing APEC par­tic­i­pants. It con­sists of a six-star ho­tel, 68 ser­viced apart­ments, com­mer­cial build­ings, restau­rants, a cul­tural cen­tre, a marina and an in­ter­na­tional cruise line ter­mi­nal.

Other ac­com­mo­da­tion

By the time the sum­mit starts, Port Moresby could have as many as 2590 high-end ho­tel rooms, and con­fer­ence ca­pac­ity for many thou­sands. It will be a sharp con­trast to five years ago, when the city had just 600 high-end ho­tel rooms.

Ac­cord­ing to Chris Hawkins, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the PNG APEC 2018 Au­thor­ity, guests will be ac­com­mo­dated in new and ex­ist­ing ho­tels and three cruise lin­ers that will be parked in Fairfax Har­bour es­pe­cially for the event. ‘There are suf­fi­cient rooms for lead­ers to have the rooms they re­quire,’ he says.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion will be ar­ranged in ac­cor­dance with se­cu­rity re­quire­ments. The APEC Au­thor­ity will be in charge of all ho­tel book­ings and there will be strict se­cu­rity com­pli­ance.

One of the new ho­tels is The Stan­ley, which opened in July of 2016. Lo­cated in cen­tral Waigani it fea­tures 429 rooms. Gen­eral Man­ager Ge­off Haigh says the cen­tre­piece of the ho­tel is its func­tion space, which can cater for a ple­nary con­fer­ence at­ten­dance of up to 1000 and a sit-down dinner for 1200.

An­other ho­tel is PNG’S first Hilton, which will have a 16-storey, mixed-use tower that will house the 212-room Hilton ho­tel, of­fice and re­tail space and 128 apart­ments. It will be ready by late 2017.

Air­port fa­cil­i­ties

A K550 mil­lion up­grade of Jack­sons na­tional and in­ter­na­tional air­port is un­der­way. It is due for com­ple­tion by Au­gust, 2018. The up­grade in­cludes ex­pand­ing the in­ter­na­tional ter­mi­nal build­ing to in­clude a VIP fa­cil­ity and more fa­cil­i­ties at the air­field.

Roads

Two key roads have been built to pro­vide easy ac­cess from the air­port and be­tween APEC con­fer­ence fa­cil­i­ties. Six new roads have been built at a cost of K700 mil­lion. These have eased conges­tion.

The Paga Hill ring road con­nects all precincts on Paga Hill and the wa­ter­front, as well as link­ing the city cen­tre, the port and Ela Beach.

The com­ple­tion of the Pa­cific’s first fly­over in May, 2015, linked Port Moresby’s Jack­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port to the ad­min­is­tra­tive, sport­ing and re­tail hub of Waigani. The K161 mil­lion pro­ject in­cluded the de­sign and build­ing of a 2.2 km, four-lane road and a 600-me­tre fly­over.

Se­cu­rity

The PNG Cab­i­net has es­tab­lished the APEC PNG Joint Se­cu­rity Task Force under the com­mand of the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, Gary Baki. It will over­see se­cu­rity dur­ing the sum­mit and the pre-sum­mit of­fi­cials’ meet­ings.

Prime Min­is­ter Peter O’neill says the se­cu­rity pro­ce­dures will re­quire closer links with Aus­tralia, In­done­sia and the Solomon Is­lands. Seven­tythree Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice of­fi­cers will re­main in PNG un­til the end of the Novem­ber 2018 lead­ers’ meet­ing. They will as­sist in se­cu­rity, diplo­matic sup­port, ad­vi­sory roles, in­tel­li­gence ser­vices and im­mi­gra­tion pro­cesses.

Tourism

The 2018 APEC event and the meet­ings lead­ing up to the fi­nale are ex­pected to draw tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors and par­tic­i­pants. It will gen­er­ate many op­por­tu­ni­ties for the tourism in­dus­try: not just in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, but also in the prov­inces of East New Bri­tain, Morobe, Madang, East­ern High­lands, Milne Bay and New Ire­land. All have been se­lected to host APEC meet­ings. It of­fers vis­i­tors the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.

THE EX­PE­RI­ENCE OF OTHER COUN­TRIES THAT HAVE HOSTED THE EVENT SUG­GESTS BEN­E­FITS OUT­WEIGH THE COSTS.

Paga Hill and APEC Haus (top right), lo­ca­tions for the 2018 APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers Meet­ing, under con­struc­tion.

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