The an­nual Pa­pua New Guinea Ad­van­tage in­vest­ment sum­mit, held in Septem­ber 2013 in Port Moresby, re­vealed a wealth of op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vestors.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Contents -

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.

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