us japan australia nz to bring electricity to papua new guinea
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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US, Japan, Australia, NZ to bring electricity to Papua New Guinea

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today US, Japan, Australia, NZ to bring electricity to Papua New Guinea

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Port Moresby - DPA

Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States on Sunday signed a deal to bring electricity to 70 per cent of Papua New Guinea by 2030.

The agreement to develop the country's underdeveloped electricity grid was signed by the four countries and the government of Papua New Guinea at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Port Moresby. 

Currently, only about 13 per cent of Papua New Guinea’s population has reliable access to electricity.

"Electricity lifts the living standards of communities in cities, towns and remote villages," the countries said in a joint statement.

Papua New Guinea is the poorest of the 21 APEC member countries and most of its population lives in remote or rural areas with little infrastructure.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the project was "a significant investment."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the plan would have a "transformational impact" on the lives of people in Papua New Guinea."

She added that the deal would be particularly beneficial for women, who would be "able to access tools needed (for) entreprise... that benefit their families tremendously." 

The investment by the US and its regional allies is seen as a push against China's growing influence in the Pacific region.

China has been providing billions of dollars in aid and loans for massive infrastructure projects. 

In Papua New Guinea, China is building major highways and a hospital.

On Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence accused China of providing infrastructure loans to poorer countries with terms he described as "opaque at best" and "too often come with strings attached."

The US offered "better options," Pence claimed.

"We do not offer constricting belts or a one way road," Pence said, in reference to China's Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to create a transcontinental trade and infrastructure network.

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