OPEC Fund: Papua New Guinea sustainable highway programme funding

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Highlands Highway Investment Programme to facilitate trade and improve access to jobs, markets and social services for three million people. 

The OPEC Fund for International Development has signed a $50m loan agreement with Papua New Guinea to co-finance tranche 2 of the Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Programme.

The overall programme will rehabilitate and upgrade 430km of the Highlands Highway, improving road safety, supporting the establishment of logistics platforms and services for agricultural production, and enhancing sector governance through reforms and institutional development.

Tranche 2 will include the construction or rehabilitation of 71 bridges and related infrastructure, including 41 two-lane and 30 single-lane bridges between Lae Nadzab Airport and Kagamuga Airport in Mount Hagen.

OPEC Fund director general Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “This ambitious investment programme will rehabilitate and upgrade a road which is rightly called a lifeline for the population of Papua New Guinea. It traverses the highlands region with seven landlocked, densely populated provinces where the key economic activity is agriculture, particularly the cultivation of cash crops. Developing a safe and integrated transport network will make a vital contribution to the region’s sustainable growth and will contribute to mitigate climate change risks.”

The project falls under Papua New Guinea’s Development Strategic Plan 2010-2030 and will improve connectivity to support the integration of rural communities. Increased mobility will help farmers to shift from subsistence to market-based agriculture. Women in local communities will be particularly encouraged to proactively participate in the planning and implementation of the project.