The Government of Australia has provided AU$316,500 ($237,375) in additional financing to the ongoing Microfinance Expansion Project, designed to increase access to financial services for the people of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The project, launched in April 2012 to strengthen PNG’s financial sector by improving financial inclusion, is cofinanced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Governments of Australia and PNG. The Bank of PNG, through the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion, coordinates financial inclusion and financial education initiatives in the country.
“The project has now reached 168,034 Papua New Guineans, who have been trained in financial literacy, exceeding the project’s initial target of 120,000 people. More people have shown interest in expanding project activities to their area,” said Emma Fan, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office.
The project continues to support the economic and social empowerment of women, which comprises almost half of all trainees to date. The project partners with community-based organizations in implementing financial literacy activities in rural areas. In the Yangoru-Saussia District, the project has partnered with Vision Implementing Associates where the project has been conducting a “training of trainers” program to help bring the financial literacy program to around 13,000 participants in the district.
“We are very pleased to be able to extend the Microfinance Expansion Program to the Yangoru-Saussia district,” Susan Ferguson, Counselor for the Australian High Commission, said. “The program has a proven record of accomplishment in helping people manage their finances more effectively. This, in turn, will lead to better returns from household investments.”
“We have seen financial education change the lives of the people in PNG. Demand for financial education is increasing especially from very remote parts of the country. We are grateful for the additional resources provided by the Government of Australia,” said Ellison Pidik, Assistant Governor of the Bank of PNG.