New Zealand joins partnership to expand access to electricity in Papua New Guinea

New Zealand will contribute towards Papua New Guinea’s ambitious National Electrification Roll-Out Plan to connect 70 percent of households to electricity by 2030, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced at APEC in Papua New Guinea.

The funding will be allocated from New Zealand’s Overseas Development Assistance budget.

The Prime Minister made the announcement alongside other partners in the project; US Vice President Pence, Australian Prime Minister Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Abe and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister O’Neill during APEC Leaders’ Week.

“This ambitious electrification project signals a strong commitment from New Zealand and our four other partners to work together and pool our resources and technical expertise to support PNG’s electrification goals,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand has been a significant partner with PNG in the energy sector for over five years. This commitment comes in addition to a $24.7 million contribution to the Rural On-Grid Extension Project and $10.25 million to the Town Electrification Investment Programme.

“In partnership with our Pacific neighbours, we are the second most significant donor in the region. Together with Australia, we make up 50% of the development assistance in the Pacific Islands according to the latest data from the OECD.

“Pooling New Zealand’s resources with our partners means our contribution can go further and will make a much greater impact.  We are very pleased with this level of shared commitment.

“Currently only 13 percent of PNG’s population has access to electricity. This partnership will connect more households, businesses and service providers across Papua New Guinea to electricity, with the goal of 70 percent of households gaining access to electricity.

“Bringing power to people who never had it before has a transformational impact on their lives and will assist Papua New Guinea to grow. The lack of electricity is holding back Papua New Guineans’ ability to invest in business opportunities but also the country’s ability to develop its critical social services including health and education,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The cost of connecting 70 percent of people by 2030 is estimated to cost approximately US$1.7 billion.