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‘Women’s Micro Bank a key driver of financial inclusion’ – ‘BPNG Governor Ms. Elizabeth Genia.’


Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Ms. Elizabeth Genia officially opened the Women’s Micro Bank (WMB) Branch in Kerema (Tuesday May 07), making it the fifth WMB branch to be operating in Papua New Guinea.

“Today’s official opening of its fifth branch celebrates another achievement in a long line of achievements we have seen for women’s microbank. I am sure your highly esteemed founder, the late Janet Sape, would have been extremely proud of the organization affectionately known as Mama Bank, now one of the top 50 companies for women in APEC countries and well regarded as a financial services innovator,” Ms. Genia told the people of Kerema town who turned up in hundreds to witness the important occasion.

Ms. Genia stated that WMB has become a key driver of financial inclusion and financial inclusion was originally a BPNG led innovation but is now a national strategic priority.

She applauded women’s micro bank services in addressing several financial inclusion objectives, particularly highlighting depositing taking and lending opportunities to the 85% of the population who are still unbanked.

“Opening of the Kerema branch is another way Women’s Microbank has made a commitment to encouraging people to access financial services.”

“I understand the Kerema branch will enable the people of the district, particularly the women, to take advantage of services such as the MSC credit scheme, financial literacy training, as well as basics, including deposit takings and loans. The branch will provide a practical and desirable alternative to the risks of holding cash, informal money lending and money scams, all of which stop people from building a comfortable standard of living.”

“Today’s official opening gives members of the community the opportunity to take significant steps forward towards building the financial security and financial independence,” the BPNG Governor said.

Coinciding with the opening, was also the launching of the Kerema District SME Policy which was officially launched by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Honourable James Marape.

The Prime Minister committed three million kina towards the WMB Kerema branch as part of the Government’s partnership with KDDA in assisting to create a credit lending facility where Gulf women especially mothers in SME can benefit.

“Get into productive micro to small medium enterprises and do well for yourself. By doing well for yourself, you will be preparing your children well for the future,” the prime minister encouraged women from Gulf province.

Kerema Open MP Honourable Thomas Opa also committed two million kina towards the WMB Kerema branch and also became the first customer to open an account with the branch.

Mr. Opa emphasised that empowering women in Gulf province was a big challenge but was positive that with the setting up of a WNB (mama) branch in his province and assistance from the government with seed capital to fund lending credit facilities, he was confident mothers and young girls will take advantage of the opportunity and use the facilities wisely to venture in various business opportunities and empower themselves financially.

Other important delegates who witnessed the SME Policy Launching and WMB opening included, Kerema Open MP and Vice Minister for Petroleum and Energy Honourable Thomas Opa, Wapenamanda Open MP and Vice Minister for Works and Highways Honourable Mikki Kaeok, Moresby North West Open MP Lohia Boe Samuel, BPNG Assistant Governor George Awap, WMB CEO Gunanidhi Das, CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe and members of the Kerema District Development Authority and the Gulf Provincial Executive Council.



Image Captions:

Image 1 & 2.  Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Ms. Elizabeth Genia officially opening the Women’s Micro Bank in Kerema.

Image 3 & 4.  Prime Minister Honourable James Marape cutting the ribbon to the launch the Kerema District SME Policy.

Image 5.  Kerema Open MP and Vice Minister for Petroleum and Energy Honourable Thomas Opa became the first customer to open an account with the branch. Witnessing this is BPNG Governor Ms. Elizabeth Genia.

Image 6. Kerema Open MP and Vice Minister for Petroleum and Energy Honourable Thomas Opa shows his passbook after opening an account with the branch. Witnessing this was (from right to left), Wapenamanda Open MP and Vice Minister for Works and Highways Honourable Mikki Kaeok, Governor of the Bank of Papua New Guinea Ms. Elizabeth Genia, CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe, CEFI Deputy Executive Director Peter Samuel and Women’s Micro Bank CEO Gunanidhi Das.

Image 7. Womens Micro Bank, Kerema Branch

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


Impact Stories

Jessica determined to educate her people on financial literacy after successfully completing CEFI’s Training of Trainers Training.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 – A male participant delivering a presentation during the ToT training.

Photo 2 – Group presentations during the ToT training.

Photo 3 – Jessica Kuambu receiving her certificate from CEFI Executive Director Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe.

Photo 4 – The ToT trainee participants following the mini graduation pose for a group photo with CEFI’s Executive Director Mr. Saliya Ranasinghe (sitting 3rd from right) and Deputy Executive Director Mr. Peter Samuel (sitting 2nd form right).

Photo 5 – Jessica Kuambu with proudly showing her certificate after successfully completing the ToT Training.

Photo 6 – Jessica Kuambu (middle) with her colleagues from the ENBSL, Lavini Taraika (CEO-ENBSL) and Peter Wartovo (Business Development Officer-ENBSL), who also attended the five day ToT training.

Photo 7– Group discussion activity during the ToT training.


April 30, 2024

Growing up in the 1990s in Bialla, West New Britain Province, a young Jessica Kuambu witnessed firsthand how people from her area spent cash recklessly without giving a single thought about saving.

The oil palm boom in the province caused an overflow of cash into the province hence Jessica to help her people one day to learn about savings.

“When I was in high school my parents had an oil palm block and during the harvesting period there were so much money floating around, people did not know what to do with it, the only thing they knew was spending it recklessly,” revealed Jessica.

“My father also had a small trade store and on weekends we would make around K80,000 to K100, 00 in cash. My parents would put all that money under their mattress and sleep on it until Monday, and go to the bank and deposit all these money,” she recalled vividly.

“During school holiday’s, going back home, I sometimes question why can’t OPIC or Hargy conduct some training to teach these people how to save their money,” thought Jessica.

This question 30 years on motivated Jessica to one day help her people know about saving and budgeting their money.

On Friday 19th April 2024, Jessica was among 31 participants certified by CEFI to be trainers in Financial Literacy.

The graduating batch were part of the first Expression of Interest-Training of Trainers training facilitated by CEFI in their Port Moresby office.

Jessica, who currently works as a Manager –Sales and Marketing with East New Britain Savings and Loans (ENBSL) in Kokopo, attended the training with two of her colleagues, CEO Lavinia Taraika and Business Development Officer Peter Wartovo.

Having an ENBSL branch in Bialla is the spring board for Jessica to use to impart the knowledge and skills she gained from the five days training, to her local community.

She revealed that there was a great need for financial inclusion activities and financial literacy programs to be implemented in local governments in the rural area.

She added they were unable to attend to the high number of request for financial literacy training due to the limited number of trainers but now that is about change following the training.

“We are increasing the number of trainers in the ENBSL, so we can go out and train many people as we can in financial literacy in all the four districts in ENB,” she said.

“We (ENBSL) are also expanding throughout the New Guinea Islands so in this capacity we are able to cover more territory not just inside ENB but in nearby provinces as well.”

For Jessica the training has equipped her well to return home and encourage her people to open bank accounts, save their money and empower them with financial freedom.





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