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OPEC Fund supports “Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Program” in Papua New Guinea
February 7, 2022: The OPEC Fund for International Development has signed a US$50 million loan agreement with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to co-finance the ‘Sustainable Highlands Highway Investment Program – Tranche 2’ aimed at facilitating trade and improving access to jobs, markets and social services for some three million people.
OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “This ambitious investment program 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 overall program is rehabilitating and upgrading 430 kilometers 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 along the national Highlands Highway, comprising 41 two-lane and 30 single-lane bridges, between Lae Nadzab Airport to Kagamuga Airport in Mount Hagen.
The project, which the government has accorded top priority status under its ‘Development Strategic Plan 2010-2030’, stands to deliver multiple benefits. On completion, vehicle operating costs and travel time will improve significantly. Better connectivity will support the integration of rural communities. Increased mobility will encourage farmers to shift from subsistence to market-based, high-volume agriculture. Women in local communities will be particularly encouraged to proactively participate in the planning and implementation of the project.
About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established by the member countries of OPEC in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Our work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$22 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of US$187 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA/A-1+, Positive Outlook by S&P in 2021. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.