PNG’s unique culture can drive development

Papua New Guineans have been urged to take inspiration from the country’s diverse culture and rich natural environment to create sustainable businesses and contribute to the nation’s development.

The Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct hosted a panel discussion in Lae recently on the potential for innovative indigenous businesses, and the opportunities they offer entrepreneurial women.

The panel, comprising Sir Nagora Bogan, Amanda Donigi, Maria Linibi and Bonita Solomon, was joined by more than 40 local business people and community leaders.

“We need to stop thinking about culture as our history and start thinking about it as our future,” Stella Magazine founder Amanda Donigi said.

“Development cannot happen without culture and Papua New Guinea must develop on its own terms.”

The discussion was opened by Australian Deputy High Commissioner Bronte Moules and was also attended by Ms Sheila Harou, Acting Provincial Administrator for Morobe, and Lady Nohorahnie Bogan.

Ms Moules said the indigenous business sector offered real economic opportunities, particularly for women.

“As an Australian living in Papua New Guinea, I’m constantly struck by the diversity of this magnificent country,” Ms Moules said.

“There are so many people around the world that want to experience the stories, sounds, dances, arts and crafts that Papua New Guinea has to offer.

“These cultural elements provide opportunities for women, at all levels, to participate in the economy.”

Sir Nagora, Chancellor of the University of Technology and President of the Papua New Guinea Indigenous Business Council, said both women and men need to step up and take responsibility for development.

“We are now in transition as a generation of leaders retire and pass on their duties,” Sir Nagora said.

“We need people who can bring strong ethical values, a strong sense of governance, prudential management of our resources and stewardship of our environment.”

Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct is a joint initiative of the Governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia to support the development of capable and ethical leaders in the public and private sectors.

One of the key objectives of the Precinct is to encourage dialogue and discussion on Papua New Guinea’s development challenges and how ethical leaders can support positive change.