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Praxis Discussion: Papua New Guinea 40 years on: where to now?
September 25, 2015World Bank offices, level 19, 14 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW

This month, Papua New Guinea celebrates 40 years of independence, providing an opportunity to reflect on how far the nation has come, and the challenges that lay ahead.

As the Pacific’s largest country by population, land and economic activity, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill believes PNG is “entering a period of change never experienced before”. The challenges ahead lie in ensuring all people benefit from PNG’s continued development, through improved employment opportunities, reliable infrastructure and high quality services.

PNG is also securing its role in the region as not just an economic leader, but as a driver of the broader regional policy agenda, engaging in numerous bilateral agreements with neighbours and hosting the APEC Forum in 2018. The nation has also recently hosted the Pacific Islands Games and the Pacific Islands Forum, the latter of which Prime Minister O’Neill has become Chair.

So what lies ahead for PNG? Will the Government’s 2050 vision plan effectively guide tangible policies to take PNG forward? And how will the nation continue to cement its position as a regional leader?

Joining us to discuss these topics we have Cecelia Nembou, Associate Professor of Management and Vice President, Divine Word University, Port Moresby; Marjorie Andrew, Deputy Director, Papua New Guinea Institute of International Affairs and; Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

The discussion will be held at the World Bank office in Sydney at Level 19, 14 Martin Place.

It will be relayed to our offices in:

  • Dili, Timor-Leste
    Avenida dos Direitos Humanos Dili, Timor-Leste (Tel: +670 3312367)
  • Honiara, Solomon Islands
    The World Bank, Mud Alley, Honiara PO Box 1744, Honiara (Tel : +677 21444)
  • Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
    Deloitte Tower, Level 13, Port Moresby NCD  (Tel: +675-321-7111)


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The panel discussion will last 30 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes for audience questions.  

Refreshments will be provided. As this is a catered event, please email us at pacificmedia@worldbank.org, to register your attendance. Capacity is limited. please only RSVP if your attendance is assured.  

  • Cecelia Nembou

    Associate Professor of Management and Vice President, Divine Word University
    Dr Cecilia Nembou is a mathematician by training and holds a PhD in Operations Research from the University of New South Wales. She has held various academic and senior management positions at the University of PNG, PNG Banking Corporation, University of Wollongong in Dubai and Divine Word University over a period spanning 40 years. She has attended various professional and personal development short courses including corporate governance, strategic planning and management, quality assurance, customer service management, and marketing management. Dr Nembou has served on various committees and Councils of Universities as well as on Boards of State Statutory organizations, and Boards of commercial and non-government organizations. She is a former Head of Mathematics Department, Executive Dean of the School of Natural and Physical Sciences, Pro Vice Chancellor Planning and Development and Acting Vice Chancellor at UPNG; as well Academic Registrar at the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
  • Marjorie Andrew

    Deputy Director, Papua New Guinea Institute of International Affairs
    Marjorie Andrew is a holder of a Masters (MPhil) in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Papua New Guinea. Marjorie worked with the Papua New Guinea Department of National Planning as the First Assistant Secretary, Planning Division. Marjorie headed the Consultative Implementation Monitoring Council (CIMC) Secretariat for the four and a half years, facilitating dialogue between government, business and civil society on selected development issues, policies, and implementation problems. She worked for 12 months as a Technical Assistant for the ACP Migration Facility, an EU funded project in PNG and East Timor. Mrs. Andrew currently is the Deputy Director at the PNG Institute of National Affairs which conducts research to provide alternative policy advice. Her strengths lie in public policy – qualitative research, analysis, writing and advocacy.
  • Franz Drees-Gross

    World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands
    Franz Drees-Gross is a German and United States national with more than 17 years’ experience at the World Bank, including operational experience in Asia, South America and Africa. Based in Sydney, Australia, he has been Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands since 2013. Prior to taking up this position he was the Sustainable Development Manager for Indonesia, based in Jakarta, from where he oversaw an annual lending program of approx. $1.5 billion. This included a large rural and urban, community-driven development program, infrastructure investments in power, drainage and roads, the final stages of the reconstruction effort after the 2004 Aceh Tsunami and a program to protect Indonesia’s coral reefs. He holds Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering and in Management and a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
event details
  • when: Friday 25 September, 2015, 1pm – 2pm. Please arrive by 12:45pm to be seated on time.
  • where: World Bank office in Sydney relayed to offices in Dili, Honiara and Port Moresby.
  • RSVP: By 6pm, Wednesday 23 September, 2015 to pacificmedia@worldbank.org. Capacity is limited.
  • MODERATOR: Auskar Surbakti, Reporter and Presenter, Australian Broadcasting Corporation