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Media Releases

The Bank of Papua New Guinea collaborates with the Global Green Growth Institute to launch Papua New Guinea’s Green Finance Centre

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, March 25, 2024. The Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) in close collaboration with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) together with other key partners including the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI), the Department of Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA), the Department of Treasury, the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (NZ MFAT) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) all gathered at the Hilton Hotel to launch Papua New Guinea’s Green Finance Centre (GFC).

GGGI, as the main delivery partner and CEFI as a champion in financial inclusion teamed up to develop the Inclusive Green Finance Policy (IGFP) back in 2021. GGGI received a total funding of USD 670,000 from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) under the Low Emission Climate Resilient Development Program (LECRD) program for the initiative which includes the establishment of the GFC.

The GFC will now serve as the entity responsible for overseeing the implementation of IGFP and all future initiatives related to green finance flows in the country. Its core objective would be to address environmental and climate challenges in PNG and promote sustainable economic growth through innovative, yet inclusive climate financing and green investment mechanisms and it will be guided by a steering committee that is chaired by BPNG.

During the launch, GFC’s logo and website were unveiled by the guest of honour, Chief Secretary to the Government of Papua New Guinea Mr. Ivan Pomaleu OBE, Conservation Environment & Climate Change Minister Hon Simo Kilepa MP, and the Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Mrs. Elizabeth Genia.

Other high-profile guests who were present at the auspicious launch included New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, HE Pete Zwart, France Ambassador to PNG, HE Guillaume Lemoine, GGGI Country Representative Mr. Sakiusa Tuisolia, AFD Executive Director Mr. Philippe Orliange, AFI Executive Director Dr Alfred Hannig, BPNG Assistant Governor Mr. George Awap and CEFI Chief Executive Officer Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe.

Coinciding with the launch was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) among BPNG, GGGI and the three financial Institutions; Bank of South Pacific Group (BSP Group), Nationwide Mirco Bank (MiBank) and Women’s Micro Bank (Mama Bank) to integrate the IGFP onto their books to develop green loan products.

Also at the launch, AFD signed a 6 million Euros grant agreement with GGGI as the delivery partner of Greening the Pacific’s Financial System. Under this grant, PNG through the GFC will receive 1 million Euros to support the ongoing work of IGFP implementation and an additional 1.8 million Euros for designing and capitalizing of a Green Refinancing Facility.

The guest of honour in his keynote remarks praised the establishment of the GFC that it is a bold step forward in greening PNG’s financial sector and will mobilize green investment opportunities to address climate change impacts to ensure a more resilient future for Papua New Guineans.   “In line with the Government’s mandate, the Green Finance Centre will strongly advocate for banks to channel loan investments in sectors such as Agriculture, Energy, SMEs and Bioeconomy to promote low-emission options to reduce our carbon footprint and lead by

example in the region and globally, demonstrating our commitment to addressing climate change impacts,” said Mr. Pomaleu.

BPNG Governor Mrs. Elizabeth Genia echoed BPNG’s commitment to this endeavour. The Bank of Papua New Guinea is committed to promoting national financial inclusion and the greening of the financial sector and the launch of the Green Finance Centre underscores the commitment of all stakeholders involved to drive sustainable development and address climate change challenges through innovative financial mechanisms,” said Mrs. Genia.

Mrs. Genia also thanked CEFI and GGGI for their tremendous work in developing IGFP and now establishment of GFC.

The New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, HE Peter Zwart, emphasized that climate change and its impacts are real, and that responsive climate action is increasingly urgent. He said, “The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is proud to provide funding for IGFP and collaborate with the Bank of Papua New Guinea and GGGI in establishing the Green Finance Centre which will play a crucial role in working with financial institutions to mobilize increased green lending and investments in Papua New Guinea.”

The France Ambassador to PNG HE Guillaume Lemoine also emphasized the importance of the initiative giving similar remarks saying “Greening the financial system in PNG is crucial towards the fight against climate change and I am proud that France is happy to help PNG tackle this. PNG is a role model in the Pacific, and we wish all the best to the team involved.”

Other VIPs that also spoke during the occasion were AFI Executive Director Dr Alfred Hannig, AFD Executive Director Mr. Philippe Orliange and BPNG Assistant Governor Mr. George Awap who all highly commended the significance of the Green Finance Centre.

The Inclusive green finance initiative is in line with BPNG – CEFI’s Third National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS 3) (2023-2027) and PNG’s climatic goals stated in PNG Vision 2050 and Medium-Term Development Plan IV (2023-2027). The GFC is located within the CEFI office on Level Three, Credit Corp Building, Downtown Port Moresby. For more information on GFC, kindly visit GFC’s website, www.gfcpng.com or send an inquiry to infor@gfcpng.com

Media Releases

Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) and Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) Forge Partnership to Empower Western Province SMEs.

The Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) and the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) today (Tuesday 12th March) officially entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).This agreement solidifies their collaboration to implement a Financial Literacy Program aimed at empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and women-led SMEs in selected regions of the Western Province.

Under the MoU, CEFI will conduct Training of Trainers (ToT) sessions in designated areas, equipping 25 trainers with the necessary skills and knowledge in personal money management concepts. These trained individuals will then be responsible for imparting direct retail training to 1,000 SMEs and women-led SMEs within the Western Province.

The signing ceremony, held in Port Moresby, saw Mr. Andrew Mari, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Executive Manager Program Services of OTDF, and Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe, Executive Director of CEFI, formalize the partnership.

The primary objective of this collaboration is to provide comprehensive financial literacy training and facilitate financial inclusivity for SMEs and women-led SMEs in the Western Province, particularly in Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) regions.

Mr. Andrew Mari expressed his gratitude for the partnership, stating, “This marks the beginning of a crucial initiative for us at OTDF. This will be the first MoU that we (OTDF) will be signing with CEFI and we are privileged that CEFI will partner with OTDF to roll out the financial literacy training targeting respective women associations,” said Mr. Mari

He further emphasized the significance of the MoU in empowering women associations financially and enabling them to meet the necessary requirements for advancing their SME businesses in Western Province.

In response, Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe affirmed CEFI’s commitment to the partnership, stating, “Financial literacy is pivotal to the development process in the Western Province. We are eager to work with OTDF in rolling out the Financial Literacy program and empowering SMEs.”

Mr. Ranasinghe encouraged women association leaders to utilize the training effectively, highlighting their role as community role models. He also outlined CEFI’s plans to expand financial services in the Western Province, collaborating with local financial institutions to bring services closer to the people.

“We are looking forward to this partnership as financial literacy is going to be the corner stone in this whole development process that we would like to roll out in Western province,” he said.

He highlighted that Papua New Guinean has 16,500 access points that includes banks, sub-banks, agencies, eftpos machines and ATMS.

He explained that CEFI would like to expand this services in Western province by working with financial institutions in the province to bring the financial services closer to the people.

“Another important step that we would like to proceed in this particular agreement as we maintain a very good repo with the financial sectors in the country and we will be working with the banks to open up agencies in those respective areas and to bring the financial services to the door steps of this SME clients,” he said.

He concluded by affirming CEFI’s commitment to monitoring the progress of the program, ensuring its impact on the lives of the people in the Western Province, with the intention of replicating the model in other provinces.

This partnership between OTDF and CEFI represents a significant step towards enhancing financial literacy and empowering SMEs in the Western Province, fostering sustainable economic growth and development.


Image Captions:

Image 1.  Mr. Andrew Mari (Right/Acting CEO & Executive Manager Program Services-OTDF) & Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe (Executive Director-CEFI) sign the MoU.

Image 2. Mr. Andrew Mari (Right/Acting CEO & Executive Manager Program Services-OTDF) & Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe (Executive Director-CEFI) shaking hands to formalise the partnership.


For further information on the work of CEFI please contact CEFI Communications Team: +675 3225300, email: lomaro@thecefi.org  or visit www.thecefi.org

Media Releases

CGC Signs Agreements with Financial Institutions to provide credit guarantee for SMEs

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – January 19, 2024 – The Credit Guarantee Corporation Limited (CGC) is pleased to announce the signing of groundbreaking agreements with ten leading financial institutions in the country aimed at providing critical credit guarantees to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

These landmark agreements reinforces CGC’s commitment to bolstering the growth and development of SMEs, which are the backbone of the PNG’s economy. By partnering with financial institutions, CGC aims to alleviate the obstacles faced by SMEs in accessing affordable credit to develop and grow their business and ultimately contributing to economic growth and job creation in the country.

Under the newly inked agreements with FinCorp, Financial & Private Sector Staff Savings & Loans Society Limited, Kina Bank, MiBank, Moni Plus, Nasfund Contributors Savings and Loan Society Limited, Nambawan Savings and Loan Society Limited, Peoples Microbank Limited, Resources & Investment Finance Limited and Womens Microbank, CGC will provide credit guarantees to the partnering financial institutions, enabling them to extend much-needed credit facilities to SMEs. Through this collaboration, SMEs will have improved access to financing, allowing them to expand their businesses, create employment opportunities, and contribute to the overall economic growth of PNG.

In a speech delivered for the Prime Minister by the Chief Secretary Mr. Ivan Pomeleu, he said, “Today marks a significant step forward in our collective and sustained efforts to foster economic growth, support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and create avenues for increased employment opportunities.”

Mrs. Elizabeth Genia, Governor of the Bank of PNG said, “CGC’s role is a strategic enabler and the signing of the agreements today is also the start of the long journey to achieving the various strategic objectives set by the Government, notably the SME Policy, the PNG Development Strategic Plan, Vision 2050, the Financial Inclusion Policy, the Green Finance Policy and the recently launched Medium Term development plan IV, amongst others.

Mr. Dominic Sikakau, CEO of CGC, expressed his enthusiasm about the agreements, stating, “These partnerships mark a significant milestone in our efforts to empower SMEs and drive economic growth in PNG. By providing credit guarantees to our partnering financial institutions, we are facilitating increased access to finance for SMEs, nurturing entrepreneurship, and encouraging growth across different sectors of our economy.”

Mr. John Cholai, Chairman of Nambawan Super Savings and Loans (NSLS) in his remarks said “CGC provide NSLS the confidence to enter the MSME space, a space that for a long time has been occupied by commercial banks. The support will allow us to grow our capacity and capability into expanding out more

to the MSME space and off course the self-employed sector. 0ver 43% of our membership are females and the CGC offers us great opportunity to support women in business, while promoting ‘saving first culture’.”

The signing ceremony was attended by Chief Secretary on behalf of the Prime Minister, CEOs of various participating financial institutions, the Governor of Bank of PNG, representatives from various government departments and donor agencies, underscoring the collaborative and concerted effort to address the financing needs of SMEs in PNG.

The agreements signify a crucial step forward for CGC in supporting the growth and sustainability of SMEs, as well as the overall economic development of PNG. CGC remains dedicated to fostering an environment where SMEs can thrive, innovate, and contribute to the nation’s prosperity.

For more information about the CGC and its initiatives, please visit www.cgc.com.pg



Media Contact:

Judith Kasek

Marketing & Communications Officer Credit Guarantee Corporation Phone: +675 3227458

Email: jkasek@cgc.com.pg

Media Releases

CEFI Launch New Website

The Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion launched its new revamped website on Wednesday July 12 marking a very important milestone for the organization’s marketing and communication. The new CEFI website can be found at https://www.thecefi.org/

CEFI Executive Director Mr. Garima Tongia after launching the new CEFI website emphasized on the importance of a website saying it is the main tool of communication, marketing and awareness in organizations.

“A revamped, revitalized and brand website is very important for CEFI because it will educate people who want to know more about CEFI and also do business with us,” Mr. Tongia said.

“At CEFI we realize the importance of having a website that is simple, efficient, user friendly and incorporating key features of style and must remain modern and current,” he added.

“It took us three years to finally complete the project and thank you SNS Tech for your patience with us and for finally delivering our new website.”

Mr. Jacob Segodi from SNS Tech, who gave a brief on the overall project, thanked CEFI for engaging SNS Tech to develop CEFI’s website adding they were happy that the project was a success and will continue to work with CEFI on the website.

The Executive Director highlighted other important cutting edge technology projects also that CEFI is currently undertaking and promoting on its website apart from its other core functions.

Some of these projects include, Business Link Pacific, Ledger Pal Application, Market for Village Farmers project, Inclusive Green Finance Project and the World Bank on Child Nutrition programme.

“These are some of the projects CEFI is involved in that people don’t know about that is why a new improved and reinvigorate website is important to market and communicate these projects,” he said.

“We will continue to update from time to time to reflect the changes that are happening and I’m certain SNS Tech will be happy to work with us,” Mr. Tongia said.

The CEFI website has undergone a number of developments and the current website is built on WordPress platform and page builder application.

Discussions on redeveloping and revamping the CEFI website started in 2021 while diagnostic work started in 2022 around reviewing of website pages by CEFI managers and the Executive Director, which cumulated into the signing of a service agreement between CEFI and website developer SNS Tech in 2023 and start of the project.

The focus of the project was on website revamp, redesigning and search engine optimization.

The CEFI Website team undertook two separate trainings delivered by SNS Tech to administer the front end of the website.

Media Releases

Business Link Pacific, the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion and the Lae Chamber of Commerce announce new Business Support Grants for the private sector in Papua New Guinea

Business Link Pacific, the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion and the Lae Chamber of
Commerce announce new Business Support Grants for the private sector in Papua New Guinea
06 July 2023

Business Link Pacific (BLP), a private sector development programme delivered by DT Global and funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), has announced the availability of new Business Support Grants for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Papua New Guinea. “Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased to continue our support for Business Link Pacific. As I get around and meet businesses and chambers of commerce, I have heard how much Business Link Pacific is valued in Papua New Guinea. And these Business Support Grants will help businesses here invest in and grow
their operations, creating jobs and economic benefits for local communities”, said Peter Zwart, New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG

The Business Support Grants are designed to stimulate SME growth, innovation, access to finance, and investment in social inclusion and climate action. SMEs in Papua New Guinea can present proposals that
meet the criteria of at least 1 of the following 5 categories:

• Innovation: grant will be used to drive innovation within the business.

• Growth: grant will used to drive business growth.

• Inclusion: grant will be used to increase inclusiveness within and by the business.

• Climate: grant will mitigate, adapt, or increase resilience to climate change.

• Finance: grant will be used to secure additional finance e.g., equity for a loan.

To apply, businesses must submit a proposal that outlines the project they are proposing to undertake, the expected outcomes of the project, and the financial resources they are seeking. Proposals will be
evaluated based on their alignment with at least 1 of the 5 grant categories mentioned above, as well as the feasibility of the project, the sustainability of the project, and the quality of the proposal.
Grants will be awarded based on business size and other factors. As a guide, businesses with up to 5
employees are eligible for grants up to NZD 5,000 equivalent (11,000 PGK), and businesses with up to 10 employees are eligible for up to NZD 10,000 equivalent (22,000 PGK). Businesses with 20 employees or more can apply for grants up to NZD 20,000 equivalent (44,000 PGK). Businesses with up to 50 employees can apply for grants up to NZD 30,000 equivalent (66,000 PGK). BLP encourages applications from women, youth, indigenous entrepreneurs, and community-led
businesses. Guidelines and full criteria can be found on the BLP website. https://businesslinkpacific.com.
The Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion and Lae Chamber of Commerce will assist with the submission of applications. SMEs that require assistance to access the internet or computers should
contact them to be supported. “We are excited to announce the availability of these new Business Support Grants, to support local
businesses with their innovation and growth projects. We know that grants can boost SMEs capacity to access finance, increase employment and invest in critical issues such as climate resilience,” said Steve Knapp, director of BLP. “The growth and empowerment of MSME is critical to the country. Unemployment is high and our people
want to learn how to run a business successfully and profitably. The BLP programme is one of real sustainability, not only providing support to SMEs but to business service providers, who are also local
business, that have not only local knowledge but continue to work with, mentor and develop our SMEs into more robust businesses. There is not a business in the world that started out ‘big’, all businesses
start small and with the right attitudes, support and guidance grow into big and successful businesses.

We applaud and support BLP as truly a circular, sustainable model and are pleased to be part of it,” said the president of Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), John Byrne. The Advisor to Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe said, “There is an increasing recognition of the importance of SMEs in supporting overall economic growth. According to a recent survey of nearly 50,000 firms in 104 countries, SMEs provide as much as two-thirds of all employment, with small firms contributing more to employment in low-income countries than highincome countries.”

Further information:
Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BLP Service Managers- Ensie Rennie lae@businesspacific.com, Gabriel Iso png@businesslinkpacific.com and Adelle Auhava cefi@businesslinkpacific.com

About Business Link Pacific:
BLP is a private sector development programme funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and aimed at supporting the economic growth of Pacific Island countries.

The Business Link Pacific team is based in New Zealand and is currently supported by in-country partners in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. BLP is extending its services to Nauru, Niue Tokelau and Tuvalu.

Since Business Link Pacific was established in 2017, it has assisted over 6,500 small-medium sized businesses with online Business Health Checks, Continuity Plans and in-depth diagnostics. Also, it has facilitated over 2,000 business advisory services subsidies, nearly 600 business grants and contributed to the creation of an estimated 1,300 new jobs; 41% of which are filled by women.

Case studies and stories about the business talent in the PICs have been captured and shared with the Business Link Pacific audience both in New Zealand and across the Pacific Region, and can be accessed via the Business Link Pacific website.

Business Link Pacific in Papua New Guinea is coordinated by the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion. It has a quality approved Network of 47 business advisors offering services in 15 areas of business advice, including accounting, marketing, HR, business strategy, training, and couching. Approved business advisors can offer subsidies to eligible local SMEs to partially cover service fees. BLP has provided 209 subsidies in Papua New Guinea, 127 to businesses with one or more female owners and 31 Adaptation Grants for a total value of 267,470 NZD (587,038.71 PKG).

BLP is adding another important element for the SME support eco system in Papua New Guinea. Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion is extremely pleased to be part of this important support structure that facilitate growth and prosperity. We encourage SMEs to use this opportunity to improve and grow entrepreneurship, skills and access to credit and markets.

Lae is known as the commercial hub of Papua New Guinea, contributing immensely to the economy of the country. The Lae Chamber of Commerce promotes the economic viability of local small businesses to develop, grow and contribute equally to the economy. Through the partnership with Business Link Pacific has given the opportunity for our local SMEs throughout Papua New Guinea to benefit from the BLP services including the grant, for the sustainability of their business operations.


The National Q&A CEFI Director

  1. Tell us a bit about Centre for Excellence and Financial Inclusion.

CEFI was launched in April 2013, registered as an Association incorporated under PNG law and officially launched on 24th April, 2013 by the Hon Peter O’Neill. Members of the association include the Bank of PNG and Department of Planning and Monitoring. The board members consist of the Department of Treasury and the Department of Community Development, representatives from Commercial Banks, Micro Banks, Savings and Loan Societies and the Institute of Banking and Business Management (IBBM). CEFI was endorsed by PNG’s National Executive Council as the industry apex organisation mandated to coordinate, advocate and monitor all financial inclusion activities in PNG. In this capacity, CEFI has drafted and implemented two national financial inclusion strategies(NFIS 2014-2015 and NFIS 201602020) and is currently drafting the 3rd  National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2022-2016. It envisages creation of a robust financial sector which will reach people across the country and ensure all Papua New Guineans are financially competent and have access to a wide range of financial services that address their needs and are provided in a responsible and sustainable manner. CEFI’s mission is ‘Creating Financial Freedom’ that is to promote excellence in financial services, innovate delivery channels and facilitate financial education.

  1. What is financial inclusion?

Financial inclusion refers to individuals and businesses having access to and effectively use affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – payments, savings, credit and insurance – which are delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.

CEFI recognises that expanding financial services can encourage the participation of more Papua New Guineans, especially those in rural areas and urban settlements, in income generating activities in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy, and become part of the formal monetised economy thereby contributing meaningfully to the growth of the economy.

  1. Why is financial inclusion important?

Financial inclusion is important in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) context as 75% of the adult population do not have access to formal financial services. Difficult geographies, lack of physical and social infrastructure, limited technological skills and know-how has created difficult challenges in the supply and access of financial services. As a result a large portion the low-income population, in particular rural people and mostly women are financially ‘excluded’, meaning they lack access to basic financial services.

Consistent with the PNG Government’s Vision 2050 for Wealth Creation, financial inclusion aims to ensure  all people regardless of status, age and gender have access to a  wide range of quality financial services, provided to them at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, and on a sustainable basis.

  1. What are the successes of CEFI from implementing the first financial inclusion strategies?

Since the launch and implementation of the two National Financial Inclusion Strategies, unprecedented progress in financial inclusion has been achieved. As at March 2022 an aggregate of 3.6 million deposit accounts were held at regulated financial institutions with 1.2 million accounts belonging to women representing 33%. This is an increase of 2.5 million new accounts from 1.1 million accounts by December 2013. Financial access points in the country have grown by 56% in the last three years.

Papua New Guineans can now access the formal financial sector over 13,000 physical access points, as well as often via their mobile phones. In addition, Microinsurance has also been introduced in the country to reach remote communities.

Achievement and milestones achieved in the 1st National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2013-2015):

  • 1,187,024 new bank accounts opened – 462,939 ; 35% were women
  • 124,375 people reached with financial education ; 47% were women
  • 67 new branches, 73 ATMs, 4959 EFTPOS and 233 new agents added onto the financial service network on total 12,599 service outlets
  • 696,792 policy holders have taken out micro-insurance products
  • 315,993 people now linked their deposits account with Mobile Phone banking.
  1. Equal access of financial services for women is one of the organization’s core objectives.  Do you have specific targets you wish to achieve in regard to that objective?

Despite the achievements ,a majority of the population especially the vulnerable that includes women continues to lack access to formal financial services. It is more prevalent in rural communities, among women and microenterprises, especially those within the informal economy and in agriculture. Therefore, financial exclusion remains a fundamental challenge.

Nearly one of every three women in the world — or 1.1 billion — is excluded from the formal financial system. Globally, women are 7 percent less likely than men to have basic transactional accounts, and this disparity rises among the poor.

Women appear to have significantly lower levels of financial inclusion, even where financial services are available in urban communities. The scale of women’s financial exclusion in PNG makes it the need to focus on women. But this is not an easy task. Expanding access to finance for women brings some unique challenges. Socio-cultural factors, limited financial and/or functional literacy, lower levels of formal education and limited familiarity with formal financial institutions may be factors why women are likely to have lower levels of financial inclusion and engagement in household financial decision making. Further research is required to develop an understanding of the causal factors which can then provide a basis for gender specific programs and products.

The 2nd National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2016-2020 aimed to expand access to financial services to a further 2 million of PNG’s population of which 50% are women and also work with financial service providers in the country to provide products tailored to the needs of clients as it is clear that in particular, women and rural communities and MSMEs -including agricultural- suffer from the lack of products tailored to their needs, including access to credit.

Earlier this year, a Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Policy for Microfinance Institutions was launched the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Governments of Australia PNG and CEFI. The GESI policy was developed to help build and champion gender equity and social inclusion values and principles for MFIs.

CEFI believes that providing low-income women  with effective and affordable financial tools to save and borrow money, make and receive payments, and manage risk is critical to both women’s empowerment and poverty reduction. However, the path to greater women’s financial inclusion is dependent upon the creation of a more gender inclusive financial system that addresses the specific demand- and supply-side barriers faced by women, supported by an inclusive regulatory environment.

6. What are the significant challenges in providing financial literacy services especially to rural areas?

At the outset, financial literacy is a means to financial inclusion, that is, financial literacy could play an important role in enabling the most vulnerable segments of the population to use appropriate financial services. The main challenges or concern in delivering financial literacy in PNG rural areas is the high level illiteracy and demographically issolated communication limited or no government support . I

CEFI is in the process of reviewing its financial literacy courses and curricula so it’s tailored to the different segments of the community to improve their financial skills and knowledge. Such programmes should promote their awareness of available financial products and services and enable them to make appropriate choices of these services.

7. Recently a senior economist from Westpac Bank highlighted that the access to affordable financial credit was impeding the growth of businesses in PNG. Similar sentiments were shared by Commerce, Trade & Industry minister, Wera Mori at the inaugural SME Expo. Mori said lack of financial capital has slowed the growth of SMEs in PNG.  What is CEFI’s position in this regard?

CEFI agrees with those viewpoints. In fact, the 2nd Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) seeks to align with and complement the initiatives implemented under the SME Policy 2016 and has SME finance as a key priority area under the new strategy. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries. They often employ a larger proportion of the population than larger enterprises and are therefore vital for inclusive economic growth. In PNG, SMEs already make a major contribution to national output, accounting for 200,000 jobs and an estimated 10% of GDP (though these figures are likely much higher if the informal sector is taken into account). Longer term, the government aims to increase the sector’s share of GDP to 50%. At present, SMEs face obstacles to financing and are often perceived as high-risk by commercial lenders. According to local media reports, 94.4% of SMEs in PNG have never received a loan and just 2.5% had benefitted from direct government assistance.

Due to the importance of SMEs for inclusive growth in PNG, CEFI and stakeholders decided to include this new Priority area: SME Finance: that is, focused on enhancing access to and usage of finance by SMEs. Activities include: Enhance knowledge and data on financial inclusion among SMEs; Review regulatory and supervisory frameworks to ensure they are fully enabling for SME Finance ; Promote innovation and competition in SME Finance; Facilitate dialogue on existing public sector interventions and support schemes and Strengthen capacity of SMEs and financial institutions.

8.We understand that CEFI has since launched two Financial Inclusion Strategies (NFIS) 2014-2015 and NFIS  2016-2020. What are some lessons from these two strategies?

As is the case in most countries in the world, the financial sector landscape is changing  the fact remains that we have made significant progress to date and also learnt some lessons. Important lessons learnt are:

  1. Networking and collaboration amongst all stakeholders is important.
  2. Improve Financial Literacy / Education and Financial Competency Levels for Papua New Guineans.
  3. Provincial and Local Level Government involvement.
  4. The need to set Financial Inclusion targets for financial service providers.
  5. Budgeting limitations and constraints.  

9.What is CEFI looking to achieve with the second strategy?

The public-sector goal is for financial inclusion to enable individuals and businesses to achieve their economic potential, i.e. to support economic development, increase incomes and improve the standard of living (impact). For the private sector, the goal is to acquire new customers, access new market segments and ultimately increase profits. The 2nd strategy will look at improving the 4 key pillars detailed:

Enabling environment: that is, the policy, legal and regulatory framework.  Important advancement to translate policy goals into a fully enabling environment for innovative financial inclusion. There is a need to finalize long-term regulatory framework for digital financial services; Need for demand-driven roll-out of National Payment Switch; Need to strengthen financial consumer protection as industry matures; Need to introduce a comprehensive regulatory framework for micro-insurance and the need for development partner support to catalyze further innovation and address capacity building needs.

Physical access points: Lack of financial access points, in particular in rural areas, continues to constitute a key barrier to financial inclusion in PNG. There is: 1) Need to increase physical access points in rural areas and 2)Need to exploit the potential of digital financial services to expand the reach of the formal financial sector

Quality: Need to further enhance product tailoring, in particular for excluded individuals and Businesses; Need to reduce reliance on cash; Need to further promote competition in order to reduce prices

Usage: Access and quality are both preconditions for effective and large scale usage of financial services. Financial literacy, competency and consumer awareness must be strengthened to drive usage


Sim Registration optional

The National Information & Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) of Papua New Guinea just recently extended the deadline of Mandatory SIM Card registration with the deactivation commencing on 28 January, 2018. Whilst there has been mad rush from the public to get SIMs registered, most may not realize that the mandatory process was in effect as of July 23, 2016.

As per SIM Card Registration Regulation 2016 (Statutory Instrument No.7 of 2016) as published in National Gazette No. G228 dated April 22, 2016; the objective of the regulation is to provide a regulatory framework for the registration of all SIM card users and for the control, administration and management of the Subscriber Information Database. The regulation applies to all licenses and all persons who use a SIM card in PNG but shall not extend to users of SIM cards issues by foreign licenses.

First of all, NICTA must be commended for taking this step as PNG joins major countries around the world with this mandatory policy. However, like all policies there are always some downsides to it.  Given the significant costs involved in implementing the registration process, maximising the benefits that can be derived from the exercise is very important.

Prepaid SIM card registration is currently mandated in around 90 countries and requires consumers to provide proof of identification in order to activate and use a mobile SIM card. A number of governments adopt this policy as part of efforts to help mitigate security concerns and to address criminal and anti-social behaviour. To date, there has been no empirical evidence that mandatory SIM registration directly leads to a reduction in crime. However, where the exercise is implemented effectively by taking into account local market circumstances, for example the ability of mobile operators to verify customers’ identity documents, SIM registration can enable many consumers to access value added mobile and digital services that would otherwise be unavailable to them as unregistered users. However, if the registration requirements are disproportionate to the specific market, the mandatory policy may unintentionally exclude vulnerable and socially disadvantaged consumers.

PNG is usually depicted as a land with high mountains fast flowing rivers and scattered islands making government services delivery in most part of the country a main challenge. Imagine the daunting task of registering a segment of the more than 8 million Papua New Guineans who live in one of the most diverse countries in the world with 848 different languages and physical terrains that has posed enormous difficulties in building transportation infrastructure.

Following SIM registration requirements in Zimbabwe, the two leading operators lost two million subscribers. In South Africa, MTN lost nearly a million subscriptions and growth for the industry slowed considerably afterward. In Kenya, more than 1.2 million SIM cards were shut off because they were not registered by the deadline. While some of these were unused accounts, many more were people who could not – often through no fault of their own – register their SIM cards.


‘Proof of ID’ requirements

There are various challenges but proof of ID requirements is anticipated as a major one for PNG. Like most countries, ‘Proof of ID’ requirements and this varies significantly across countries. The types of customer identity documents that mobile operators are asked to check as part of mandatory SIM registration processes vary – from government-issued identity cards and passports, to letters from the ‘village chief’ certifying the identity of the person being registered. However, in a number of countries, consumers who lack any official proof of ID risk being disconnected from mobile communications altogether. Globally, current estimates suggest that there are 1.5 billion people around the world who do not have any form of identity and would therefore be unable to register a mobile SIM in their own name, where SIM registration is mandated. Consequently (and ironically), the same policy that aims to reduce crime may be taking away those consumers’ means to report a crime or call emergency services.

More fundamentally, are those that lack formal identity documents, either because they never received them or have lost them over the years.


However, herein lies an opportunity. With the increasing importance of citizens having a secure digital identity and where there are issues with the availability of official identity documents, there may be a role for operators to support the government in the creation of a unique identity that can be authenticated and used for a variety of mobile and non-mobile services. This will, in part, help individuals who lack formal identity documents to access communication services but also potentially e-Government and other value added services that could deliver incremental value – not just to people’s lives but also to economic growth, through the uptake of new services via the mobile platform and the creation of jobs, etc.

Clearly, while mobile operators should not replace the role of the state as the provider of a legal identity, they are uniquely placed to help underserved members of society benefit from services that would otherwise be unavailable to them as unregistered users.

Increasing the opportunity to use mobile registration data for value-added services also increases the incentive to clean and maintain accurate data. This benefits consumers, governments and operators, to the extent that the registration requirements are proportional, reasonable from a cost perspective and any risks of social exclusion or to consumers’ privacy are mitigated.


In an ideal world the only SIMs that would be deactivated and barred from accessing mobile networks would be those that customers deliberately had deactivated, perhaps because they decided to keep a different SIM. In reality, this is rarely the case with large numbers of customers’ SIMs deactivated, only to reactivate the service after they have been excluded. Whilst the security priority may be to exclude unregistered SIMs, there is a need to balance this priority against the financial and social impact of excluding large numbers of people.

Setting reasonable timescales for registration and potentially limiting services for customers that haven’t registered are both approaches that can mitigate the risk of deactivation. To encourage registration a number of markets block some aspect of the service for a period before deactivating it completely. Nigeria, for example, blocked outgoing calls for three months prior to deactivation.

The people most at risk of deactivation are also the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged citizens, especially those in rural areas. These citizens are often the same citizens that lack official ID papers and have the least access to locations that allow them to register. If implementation timescales are set too aggressively it is this community most likely to suffer.

Deactivation may also affect users who have mobile money wallets as deactivation to their accounts will mean deactivation to their mobile wallet accounts.

Whilst financial considerations rarely have a bearing on decisions related to mandatory SIM registration there is potentially significant impact on operator revenues and on tax revenues from deactivating large numbers of people who have failed to register. There is also significant evidence that the economic and social costs of exclusion are high. There is an impact on GDP, an impact on investment and all of the negative effects of digital exclusion for citizens. The registration process should look to encourage active users to register and to use mobile services; they should not exclude citizens, especially those who fail to register unintentionally.

Social and Economic Impact

The potential positive contribution of mobile registration should be considered as well as any role it may play for addressing security concerns. When implemented effectively, and assuming the appropriate consumer safeguards are in place, mobile registration can facilitate financial access or financial inclusion, help National ID registration and enable access to government services. Whilst mobile services deliver social and economic benefits on their own, enabling other services delivers incremental value. In 2015 the indirect benefits of mobile on the wider economy through general economic development and productivity improvement was 2.7% GDP growth, which globally equated to $2.025 trillion. Whilst addressing security and crime is the main reason governments give for the introduction of mandatory SIM registration requirements, the opportunity to add social and economic value should not be ignored. For many customers this can add significant value and it can also help other government departments achieve their public policy objectives and goals. Given the significant costs involved in implementing the registration process, maximising the benefits that can be derived from the exercise is very important.

During this process, it is critical that stakeholders consider the following:

  • Set registration deadlines that are realistic and reflect local market circumstances
    • Ensure registration requirements are clear and unambiguous
    • Encourage the storage of electronic (rather than paper-based) records
    • Encourage the registered ID to be used for other value-added mobile and digital services
    • Contribute to consumer awareness campaigns and to mobile operators’ operational costs

In the coming months, we hope that the SIM registration policy requirements are proportional and realistic, enabling – rather than inhibiting – services that can improve Papua New Guinean people’s lives and build a more inclusive society.

Mereseini Tuivuniwai is the Manager – Communications & Stakeholder Mobilisation with the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI)


CEFI graduates trainees in financial literacy

CEFI for the first time issued student identification numbers to its graduating trainees for the purpose of accessing a financial literacy application that CEFI is developing and planning to launch soon.
Head Trainer Jill Pijui made the announcement during presentation of certificates for 19 participants in a week long EOI (Expression of Interest) Training of Trainers Training.
“We will be doing back tracking of all our trainees whether Retail Training or Training of Trainers for the mass issue of student ID numbers,” Ms. Pijui said.
Ms. Pijui explained that CEFI is in the process of developing a financial literacy application (FL App) where these FL App will act as a reminder tool for the 250,000 trainers trained by CEFI.
“The FL App will remind the trainees to do their savings plan, banking, basic household budget, tracking of income and expenses and cash flow training, all these topics were covered in their respective training,” Ms. Pijui added.
In order to access the FL App, Ms. Pijui explained that all trained trainers will have to have a student ID number in order to access the application.
The 19 participants from the EOI Training of Trainers trainees were also the first batch to receive their student ID at the end of their training.
The EOI Training of Trainers training saw 14 female participants among among 19 trainees to be certified as trainers to train financial literacy in their respective communities.
Both employed and SME training providers attended the training from Monday, May 08th to 11th, which comprised of two women from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a participant each from Wewak and Enga while the rest of the trainees were from Port Moresby.

CEFI conducts second WSME workshop

The second series of training for the Online Training for Women (WSME) commenced this week (Tuesday May 02nd to Thursday May 04th), for Ni-Vanuatu WSME from Vanuatu.
Vanwods Microfinance Institution is the implementing agency in Port Vila, Capital of Vanuatu.
The Vanuatu WSME trainee participants virtually attended training through zoom from the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu’s Conference Room.
The WSME’s received training in Digital Financial Literacy, e-Commrece, Business Planning and Debt Management.
PNG and Solomon Islands training is scheduled respectively for May 23 to May 25, 2023.
The training is an initiative funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and facilitated by the #cefi Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion.

CEFI Facilitates for training in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.

The #cefi Center for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) is facilitating online training for women running small businesses in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.
Known as the Online Training for Women SMEs (WSME), the training is an initiative funded by the #adb Asian Development (ADB).
The three (3) training courses include Digital Financial Literacy, e-Commerce, and Business Planning and Debt Management.
The first series of training started last week (Tuesday April 18 to Thursday April 20) for WSME from Fiji.
The training was facilitated at the CEFI Office, and women participants virtually attended through zoom from Lautoka and Suva.
The objective of the training is to build the capacity of women entrepreneurs to acquire new knowledge through learning about;
– Digital financial products and services and how to utilize them;
– conducting business through the use of e-Commerce platforms;
– preparing proper business plans; and
– managing debt to maintain the operations of the business under unfavorable circumstances.
Vanuatu WSME’s training is scheduled for May 02 to May 04, 2023, PNG and Solomon Islands schduield respectively for May 23 to May 25, 2023.

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