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Chapter | Banking from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, Papua New Guinea’s banking sector was healthy. Liquidity increased substantially over recent decades, with the liquid asset ratio of commercial banks growing from 40% in 2003 to 49.6% in 2017. However, the pandemic has brought substantial macroeconomic challenges throughout the world, leaving no country unaffected. Although PNG has benefitted from its geographical isolation in terms of public health, its economic recovery will be highly dependent on international commodity prices, from where it receives the majority of its foreign currency. Nevertheless, the banking sector remains resilient due to the strength of key market players and decisive action on the part of policymakers. Ongoing policy initiatives to address spatial and social inequalities will prove crucial to the sector’s long-term objectives, as will efforts to boost digital penetration and financial education. This chapter contains interviews with Loi Bakani, Governor, Bank of Papua New Guinea; and Ian Tarutia, CEO, National Superannuation Fund.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

Papua New Guinea has an abundance of wealth in hydrocarbons and minerals that provides it with a solid foundation for economic growth, but also leaves the country vulnerable to the volatility of global commodity markets. As such, the government is following a long-term economic development strategy that aims to expand the state’s revenue share from lucrative extractive projects, encourage offshore processing of natural resources, promote inclusive growth and attract new investments in sectors deemed to offer significant potential, notably agriculture. The government took decisive actions to prevent community transmission of Covid-19, which constrained business activity in the first half of 2020 but also left the country well placed to bounce back without widespread public health consequences. If policymakers can maintain their success in containing the virus and conclude negotiations for resource projects while channelling revenue towards other productive sectors, the prospects for investment are bright. This chapter contains interviews with Sasindran Muthuvel, Minister for State-Owned Enterprises; and Ian Ling-Stuckey, Treasurer.

Chapter | Trade & Investment from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

In recent years Papua New Guinea’s trade and investment environment has been characterised by government policies aimed at generating wider fiscal and social benefits from the country’s resource wealth, while simultaneously growing exports and decreasing imports as it develops a broader economic base. Around 86% of exports from PNG are generated by the extractive industries, principally liquefied natural gas and gold. The government is keen to nurture the development of other high-potential segments such as agri-business – particularly given that around 85% of the population is dependent upon agriculture for their livelihoods. Following uncertainty created by the US-China trade war, the global trade and investment environment has been further clouded by the Covid-19 crisis in 2020. Nevertheless, PNG remains a country with rich potential, thanks to its untapped natural resources and strategic proximity to the high-growth markets of Asia. This chapter contains interviews with Scott Roger, Mission Chief for Papua New Guinea, IMF; and Clarence Hoot, Managing Director, Investment Promotion Agency.

Report | The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

The economic downturn resulting from lower global commodity prices and the completion of the PNG LNG project means the future of Papua New Guinea must be navigated with care. The country possesses plentiful natural resources, which, given effective management, could provide new revenue to spur diversification, as well as sustainable and equitable growth in all provinces.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Egypt 2020

Following a currency crisis in 2016, Egypt implemented a series of reforms, the results of which are apparent across key macroeconomic indicators. GDP growth rose from 5.3% in FY 2017/18 to 5.6% in FY 2018/19, and unemployment fell to 7.5%. Although Egypt faces the challenges of 2020 from a relatively robust position, lockdown measures and market turbulence have significantly impacted the economy. In April 2020 the Ministry of Finance downgraded its growth forecast for FY 2020/21 from 4.5% to 3.5%, before reducing this further to 2% in May 2020. Nevertheless, this makes Egypt the only Arab economy expected to experience positive GDP growth in 2020 and one of the few countries worldwide not set to enter recession. While the full impact of the pandemic remains to be seen, the country has moved to mitigate the worst effects by boosting government investment, and supporting small businesses and strategic industries that were adversely affected by the crisis. This chapter contains interviews with Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance; and Ahmed Abd El Wahab, Executive Director, General Authority for Investment and Free Zones.

Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Egypt 2020

This chapter explores Egypt’s legal system, including the laws that are most relevant for foreign investors. These include those that regulate corporate operations, labour, investment and property, as well as the regulations governing the country’s free zones. In recent years efforts have been made to ensure that local and international investors are treated equally, and a number of business types are open to full foreign ownership.

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