Three new projects in Papua New Guinea to help upgrade key national highways,
reduce child stunting, and increase access to regional job opportunities
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2022 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved three new projects with a combined commitment of over US$200 million (PGK722 million). The projects will support Papua New Guinean communities through major upgrades to key roads, tackling malnutrition and stunting, and improving employment opportunities in the region. Additional support from the Government of Australia will also contribute to these efforts.
“Collectively, these new projects will help address three of PNG’s most significant challenges: improving transport links between key regional hubs to boost access to jobs and markets; supporting children’s development during their vital first 1000 days of life so they can reach their full potential; and helping Papua New Guineans benefit from job opportunities in Australia and New Zealand,” said Stefano Mocci, Country Manager for the World Bank in Papua New Guinea. “We also look forward to working alongside the Government of Australia that has contributed to these projects and is a key partner.”
The first project is the US$93 million (PGK327 million) Resilient Transport Project, which, will support the PNG Department of Works and Highway’s efforts to improve the national priority road network. The project, which also benefits from a Government of Australia grant of US$15 million, will fund the rehabilitation of approximately 63 kilometers of the Ramu and Hiritano highways, together with multi-year maintenance of nearly 200 kilometers of these highways, as well as helping to build the capacity of PNG’s road sector.
The second project, the US$80 million (PGK281 million) Child Nutrition and Social Protection Project will implement PNG’s ‘Fast Track Initiative to Reduce Stunting’ by scaling up a community-based approach to deliver nutrition services and improve families’ nutrition knowledge and practices. The project, which is complemented by an additional US$10 million of Australian Government grant funding, will also pilot a social safety net providing protection to the most vulnerable households with pregnant women and mothers with young children. The project will improve the delivery of nutrition services and support village health volunteers and church health organisations to deliver community-level education on topics including breastfeeding, diet and hygiene.
Lastly, the US$32 million (PGK113 million) Enhancing Labor Mobility from Papua New Guinea project will help PNG benefit from rapidly-expanding employment opportunities in Australia and New Zealand; where workers can earn and build new skills to bring back to their communities. While other Pacific Island countries have successfully tapped into these labour programs PNG has faced challenges in scaling up participation. This new project will support the PNG Government to boost equitable access and worker readiness for these programs and help workers reintegrate when they return.
“With nearly half of children under age five being stunted, malnutrition affects the lives of far too many Papua New Guinean families and has an enormous impact on PNG’s economic potential,” said the World Bank’s Stefano Mocci. “Alongside new work to upgrade and maintain critical roads like the Ramu range section along the Ramu highway that play a vital role for economic activity and supporting hard-working Papua New Guineans in accessing regional employment, we are proud to be supporting the PNG Government to meet these important needs.”
The PNG Child Nutrition and Social Protection Project and Enhancing Labor Mobility from Papua New Guinea are all funded through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries, with the PNG Resilient Transport Project funded through both IDA and International Bank of Reconstruction & Development (IBRD).