Selling Papua New Guinea as a business and investment destination

September’s Papua New Guinea Investment Conference in Sydney is designed to promote Papua New Guinea as a key business destination in our region. Business Advantage International’s Andrew Wilkins reveals some of the planning that is going into the program.

Construction workers. Source: Anitua

‘Part of our job is telling people outside of the country just how good Papua New Guinea is as a place to invest,’ Highlands Pacific’s CEO Craig Lennon said recently.

Most PNG-focused businesses find themselves doing this sooner or later.

‘Challenging entrenched, out-of-date and uninformed views of PNG is a task we set ourselves’

When Kina Bank listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2015, CEO Syd Yates’ challenge was to convince investors not only that Kina was a good business, but that PNG was a good place to invest in. The listing succeeded, but PNG is no easy sell, as others have discovered.

‘We looked at almost 300 companies in Australia and nobody even bothered replying,’ said Chairman of CPL Group, Mahesh Patel, of his early attempts to attract Australian retail partners to PNG.

Challenge

Challenging entrenched, out-of-date and uninformed views of PNG is a task we set ourselves when we published our first business and investment guide to PNG in 2006.

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It is what we have been doing ever since: five investment summits, 12 annual editions of Business Advantage Papua New Guinea, and the businessadvantagepng.com online business magazine (to date visited by 430,000 readers globally).

Next level

On 7 and 8 September this year, we are taking our activity to the next level by hosting the Papua New Guinea Investment Conference in Sydney.

We have booked one of Sydney’s top hotels, the Shangri-La, to show the region’s business and investment community why they need to sit up and take PNG seriously.

‘Our goal is to provide international delegates with a unique opportunity to “supercharge” their knowledge of PNG’

Craig Lennon, Syd Yates and Mahesh Patel will be joining us as speakers. They will be joined by many of PNG’s top executives, such as Peter Botten of Oil Search, Kumul Petroleum’s Wapu Sonk and SP Brewery’s Stan Joyce.

Sydney, location for September’s Papua New Guinea Investment Conference.

We will be asking some of PNG’s investment experts to talk about where they see the economy developing over the next decade—people like Dr Stephen Nash, Chief Investment Officer of PNG’s largest super fund, and MTSL, fund managers of the Pacific Balanced Fund.

The central bank governor Loi M Bakani said recently: ‘developing the non-mineral sector is critical to building a resilient economy’. So, while mining and petroleum are on the program, we will also be showcasing business opportunities in infrastructure, energy, services, agribusiness, technology, manufacturing, tourism and more.

Delegates will receive a briefing on Port Moresby’s hosting of APEC 2018 but we will look outside PNG’s capital as well, highlighting opportunities across the country.

Keynote speakers

Our goal, with the help of event partners such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, is to provide international delegates with a unique opportunity to “supercharge” their knowledge of PNG, and to help PNG delegates discover new opportunities.

‘We hope to make the task of all PNG-focused companies easier in the future—allowing them to spend less time selling PNG itself, and more time selling their own ideas, products and services.’

We have invited two fascinating keynote speakers to assist: US/Australian futurist Mark Pesce on opportunities for PNG in a connected world, and BRIC and China expert David Thomas on how PNG and the Pacific can benefit from China’s ‘one belt, one road’ policy.

Futurist Mark Pesce

As an extra attraction, we are including a half-day investment seminar on the prospects for several other regional economies: Fiji, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. In all, about 40 speakers will contribute over two days.

We hope to make the task of all PNG-focused companies easier in the future—allowing them to spend less time selling PNG itself, and more time selling their own ideas, products and services.

If you think your business should be part of this conversation, you’re welcome to join us.

Andrew Wilkins is Publishing Director at Business Advantage International. He is on the programming committee for the Papua New Guinea Investment Conference.

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