World Bank approves projects in Papua New Guinea

 THE World Bank’s board of executive directors has approved three new projects with a combined commitment of over US$200 million (about K722 million) for Papua New Guinea, according to the bank.

In a statement, the bank said the projects would support PNG communities through major upgrades to key roads, tackling malnutrition and stunting, and improving employment opportunities in the region.

Additional support from the Australian government would also contribute to these efforts.

World Bank PNG country manager Stefano Mocci said: “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 1,000 days of life so they can reach their full potential, and helping Papua New Guineans benefit from job opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.

“We also look forward to working alongside the Australian government that has contributed to these projects and is a key partner.”

The first project is the US$93 million (about K327 million) “resilient transport project”, which, would support the Department of Works and Highway’s efforts to improve the national priority road network.

The project, which also benefits from an Australian government grant of US$15 million (about K51.96 million), will fund the rehabilitation of approximately 63-kilometres of the Ramu and Hiritano highways, together with multi-year maintenance of nearly 200km of these highways, as well as helping to build the capacity of PNG’s road sector.

The second project, the US$80 million (about K281 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 (about K34.64 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 (about K113 million) “enhancing labour 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.

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.


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