News Papua New Guinea

USAID AND CEFI Launch new partnership

The Lukautim Graun Program (LGP) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Cardno International Development — and the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) signed a partnership agreement to roll out financial literacy trainings in six provinces in Papua New Guinea.

Approximately 86% of PNG’s population lives in rural and remote areas on land owned by traditional landowners. Pressures from such industries as forest extraction as well as population growth threaten the PNG’s natural resources and biodiversity. With limited options local communities are tempted to convert their resources to meet short-term needs.

The USAID’s Lukautim Graun Program is a five-year project that works with PNG governments and non-governmental organizations to empower traditional landowners to directly manage and conserve the natural resources on which their livelihoods, wellbeing, and social stability depend.

CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe (far left)  and AOR / Development Assistance Specialist, USAID Julie Hulama ( far right), sign the financial inclusion partnership documents.

CEFI’s mission aligns with USAID’s LGP-based efforts to expand entrepreneurship and creative enterprises, increase access to financial services, and develop new micro- and small-scale businesses in PNG, particularly for people who live in rural and remote areas. CEFI and USAID’s LGP program will particularly emphasize women’s economic empowerment.

CEFI’s Executive Director, Saliya Ranasinghe financial is identified as an important priority in the implementation of CEFI’s third financial inclusion strategy which women and youth are important under the digital financial services and financial literacy and financial education.

“Unless women and girls are empowered to fully participate in the economy, PNG will not be able to meet its development targets,” Maurice Knight, Chief of Party for USAID’s Lukautim Graun Program, said. “And for women, and men, to be fully enabled in the economy, PNG’s biodiversity and natural resources must be wisely managed so that current generations can meet their needs while not threatening the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The linkages are obvious,” said Ranasinghe.

CEFI Executive Director Saliya Ranasinghe (3rd from left), Bank of PNG Assistant Governor Ellison Pidik (4th from left) and AOR / Development Assistance Specialist, USAID Julie Hulama  and Maurice Knight (Cardno LGP Chief of party) with the signed  financial inclusion partnership documents.

USAID Development Specialist, Julie Hulama said, the signed agreement between Cardno and CEFI aligns with USAID’s 2020 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy that affirms USAID’s vision.

While the cooperation also aligns with CEFI’s financial inclusion strategy, Chair and member of the Board of CEFI, Loi Bakani said the signing of this MOU comes at the perfect time as they launch 2022-2026 of the program in the first quarter of 2022.

Through the USAID Lukautim Graun Program, CEFI and Cardno will begin implementing joint training programs in the first quarter of 2022 in Eastern Highlands, Jiwaka, Madang, Milne Bay, Morobe and Simbu provinces. 

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