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Papua New Guinea’s Central Bank Goes Big on Blockchain with Australia

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:56 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:56 PM

The central bank of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is partnering Australia for developing blockchain technology solutions to bring financial inclusion for the country’s 85% unbanked population.

The PNG serves as the financial regulator and central bank of Papua New Guinea, an emerging economy located centrally between Asia and Australia, closer to the latter. The developing economy is not without its challenging hurdles, with a staggering 85% of its near 8 million population unbanked. The lack of an efficient registry system sees less birth registration at less than five percent. Only 20% of the geographically resource-rich country have access to electricity while mobile phone penetration is at 50%. The rugged, diverse terrain of the country is a particular barrier in bringing financial services to much of its population.

All of which, sees the PNG government making efforts to bring inclusion for its population, particularly impoverished villages, in areas of finance, banking and more.

To achieve this, the Central Bank of PNG is leapfrogging traditional financial infrastructures to look at the future of financial technologies, with blockchain. Earlier this month, the central bank launched a new program to research and study blockchain technology toward applications in identity and financial inclusion for its citizens.

The next step, was to partner  the Australian Government to collaborate on developing use cases for blockchain technology for the tropical country. A number of use cases are earmarked for exploration including areas such as identity and land registration, remittances, security, regulations and digital government.

PNG central bank governor Loi Bakani stated:

I see potential for Papua New Guinea to leapfrog using this [blockchain] technology to a new world economy.

The central bank entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the PNG Governance Facility (PGF), an Australian government funded program tasked to strengthen development ties with the Government of Papua New Guinea. Managed by Abt Associates, an Australian aid contractor, the PGF sees the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as its client.

With the partnership, the Australian Government has also committed AUD$200,000 to help PNG’s central bank research applications of blockchain technology.

Several regions in the rainforest-rich country are completely cut off from financing or banking.


Such is the interest in developing blockchain-based solutions in the country, that the central bank is in talks with the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other international organizations as well as private sector companies, the governor revealed.

Ultimately, the central bank will pilot blockchain solutions with partners and successful endeavors will see the solutions being scaled commercially.

Prof. David Kavanamur, PNG Governance Facility knowledge platform director underlined these developments as the perfect cocktail of the government and the private sector coming together to develop innovative solutions.

He stated:

Together with the Central Bank, we will bring to the PNG a curated group of global Blockchain experts in financial inclusion, identity, land registration, remittances, security, regulations, and digital government. PNG is ready for digital government on the Blockchain

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