Pacific Connect Business Network Dialogue – 2019 Communiqué
Australia-Pacific Connections for a Digital Future
Pacific Connect Business Network Dialogue
Innovative & Disruptive Technology in PNG Agriculture
1-3 April 2019, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Communiqué / Call to Action
- We, the participants of the Pacific Connect Business Network Dialogue, met in Port Moresby on Monday, 1 April and Tuesday, 2 April 2019 at the invitation of the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP). The Dialogue was co-facilitated by Mr Andrew Carriline, Chair of Pacific Connect Business Network Council, and Mr John Pora, Direction of NIUGENE PNG Ltd, and supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
- We congratulate the Dialogue organisers – ICDP – on assembling a diverse group of participants with expertise across a range of sectors and organisations, including government, non-government ogranisations (NGOs), law, community development, business services, information and communications technology (ICT), marketing and communications, forestry and agriculture. We thank all the participants for their constructive and enthusiastic contributions to the Dialogue and their willingness to continue their engagement and collaboration on projects emanating from the event.
- We welcome Australia’s interest in forging stronger and more enduring strategic relationships with Pacific Island nations. We see the planned Pacific Connect Dialogues as an opportunity for current and emerging PNG and Australian leaders to extend their networks, work on solutions to common challenges through the ‘second track’ process and develop long-term relationships through shared experiences and ongoing collaborations.
- We thank Mr Carriline for the opportunity to participate in self-reflection and ‘check in’ exercises and Mr Pora for his presentation on the rapid rise of PNG since 1950 and the potential that emerging leaders have in transforming the country through digital innovation. We appreciate their joint Dialogue facilitation and their collective value in revealing mutual interests and creating common purpose within the group. These approaches assisted in strengthening the bonds required to maintain ongoing relationships and generate long-term tangible outcomes.
- PNG’s strength is in its people and, as agriculture is a vital sector and income generator for the majority of the population, we see opportunities for innovative digital approaches to boost economic growth and improve livelihoods through increasing efficiencies in the supply chain and provision of access to platforms for farmers and customers to connect to marketplaces, to enable upskilling and informed purchasing choices.
- We believe that simple, robust and existing technology should be used wherever possible in future solutions in PNG, allied to active marketing and education to ensure user take-up. We also recognise that viable commercial models for service provision could prove more sustainable than relying on government action or grants.
- We are confident that people in PNG will embrace new technology and use it with ingenuity, if it meets their needs. However, we acknowledge that a lack of income and electricity, combined with a range of cultural, financial and educational problems, can limit the take-up of new solutions, unless they are tailored to PNG’s circumstances.
- We are confident that cooperation with existing Australian and PNG stakeholders in government, business and community sectors will leverage resources and encourage their support.
- We hope that pooling our expertise, experience and passion for change will help drive transformative change in PNG. We will call on our shared contacts to investigage the creation, adoption or adaptation of our ideas. These include developing proposals to identify a range of solutions and access to resources for three project areas:
- Establishment of a technology platform that will better connect marketplaces and farmers to customers, starting local and building from there, with additional options for storage and logistics to be incorporated if required;
- Improvement and enhancement of the supply chain of fresh produce from rural areas of PNG to urban centres with a focus on solutions addressing inconsistent supply and quality;
- Make important data, information, insights and learnings available to key stakeholders across PNG and the broader agriculture value chain. The platform will also increase transparency in pricing, create increased competition and upskill local primary producers on value adding to their crop.
- We acknowledge that partnerships and other business collaborations, including exploration of enhancing Sister Cities relationships between Townsville and Port Moresby and creation of a Global Shapers Hub in PNG, will continue post-Dialogue. We will also continue to connect using various mechanisms, including through further meetings and ICDP’s dedicated Slack forum for the Pacific Connect
- We believe the Dialogue met our expectations by addressing topics of importance to PNG, providing a forum for open and honest discussion, expanding our networks and contacts, and initiating joint tangible projects to take forward.
- We thank David Bridie for inviting a number of participants to a thought-provoking and emotional tour of ‘a Bit na Ta’, an exhibition at the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby. The Exhibition includes a film made by David Bridie, in collaboration with the Tolai people of East New Britain, particularly photographer/historian Gideon Kakabin and singer George Telek.
- We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the planned Pacific Connect Networking event, to be held in Sydney on 18-19 September 2019, and look forward meeting with other Dialogue participants across the Pacific.