Internal connectivity must be agenda

Effectively internal connectivity within PNG must be a part of PNG’s development agenda after four decades of independence.

National Research Institute Director, Dr. Charles Yala, said this on Thursday (March 16th) during the 2nd Sub-Regional Workshop on Connectivity Development in Port Moresby.

Yala said the challenge for PNG was to rethink and reshape the country’s trajectory after 40 years of mismanagement of the country’s windfalls in the past.

He said to achieve this was to open the country to the rest of the Southwest Pacific through internal and external connectivity.

“It is within this context that I propose the idea of opening up the island of New Guinea through a network of roads and cities that strategically connect the island to the rest of the economies in the bloc and beyond.

Dr  Yala said to enhance this PNG must forge an alliance with two of the biggest markets, Indonesia and Australia, to open up the country through strategic cities.

In an article prepared previously, he proposed  three major roads and four cities as well as three strategic wharves

However he said before this could be done there were political, social, cultural, and security issues that must be addressed before this took place.

Dr Yala added that a Public-Private Partnership was crucial for this idea to become a reality which will also support three existing  but unrelated projects.

“First, is the Northern Australia Development Policy. This policy will compliment the development of the strategic maritime or project to be developed at the southern end of PNG-Indonesia Border, on the Indonesia side.

“Second is Indonesia Investment connectivity in Papua, and developments are currently taking place along the Indonesian border between Vanimo and Jayapaura, with the Joint Border Development Agreement with PNG and Indonesia. Third there is China’s Maritime Silk Road to the South Pacific Islands,” he said.

Dr Yala added “Enhancing connectivity within the bloc will enhance people-to-people network, free flow of goods and services, enhanced trade and investment and in the process improve the welfare of people within the bloc and beyond.

The 2nd Sub-Regional Workshop on Connectivity Development ends today.

Cedric Patjole