APNGBC Business Forum is the gateway to growth in PNG

Mar 17, 2024 | Blog, News

The 39th Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo is set to bring together senior business and government representatives in an atmosphere away from the usual grind of daily business. Registrations are open for the event, which is to be held on Mon 13-Wed 15 May 2024, at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland.

This event is the annual opportunity to hear presentations by the experts, and to talk with colleagues about business opportunities which support economic development and create employment for communities in Papua New Guinea, the largest economy in the Pacific Islands.

The theme for this year’s forum is Climate of Change: Opportunities for Business in Papua New Guinea. The Forum will explore the changing political and economic climate internationally and in Papua New Guinea, in the context of climate change, geopolitical competition and environment, social and governance (ESG) frameworks, and present new opportunities for business.

Business opportunities galore

Papua New Guinea has for decades offered significant trade and investment opportunities. Despite challenges like the economic fallout from COVID-19 and government budget shortfalls, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows have seen fluctuations, reaching about AUD 143 million in 2020 and dropping to some AUD 111 million in 2021. The country aims to diversify its FDI sectors beyond mining, agriculture, finance, and gas, with initiatives such as free economic zone partnerships.

Under Prime Minister James Marape, Papua New Guinea stresses on trade and investment openness, though challenges persist, including unresolved negotiations with multinational companies. Efforts are under way to increase FDI in mining and petroleum/gas sectors from AUD 57 million in 2016 to AUD 142 million by 2022, with a goal of reaching a stock of AUD 14 billion. Additionally, Papua New Guinea has established the world’s first Digital FDI working group to attract tech investment.

The government is focused on privatisation and fostering a conducive environment for foreign investors. Despite preferential trade agreements and a relatively low tariff rate, Papua New Guinea faces barriers such as restrictions on foreign land ownership and investment in certain sectors. Challenges like political instability, corruption, and a challenging judicial framework hinder development efforts. However, the government says it is serious about tackling these issues.

While PNG experienced a downturn in 2021 due to COVID-19 and budget shortfalls, renewed interest from investors has sparked optimism, particularly in mining and telecommunications. Major investments include Telstra Australia’s acquisition of Digicel Pacific and Vodafone PNG’s entry into the market with an investment exceeding AUD 511 million.

In 2021, Australia was the top investor in PNG, followed by Malaysia, the USA, Hong Kong, and the People’s Republic of China. Despite challenges, sectors like energy, retail, wholesale, manufacturing, mining, and petroleum show promise for investment growth.

Looking ahead, PNG seeks further FDI to sustain its recovery and growth trajectory in 2024.

For more information on the 39th Papua New Guinea Business Forum and Trade Expo 2024, visit https://events.apngbc.org.au/event/APBF39/

See the program here: https://events.apngbc.org.au/event/APBF39/sessions.html