STAFF REPORTER | Global Construction Review
LONDON - China Railway Group and Papua New Guinea have signed agreements for three projects worth about $4 billion - a quarter of the country’s GDP - to upgrade 1,600km of highways and give PNG its first modern road network.
At present, the capital Port Moresby is not linked to any major towns and most highland villages can only be reached by light aircraft or on foot.
The country’s main road, the Highland Highway, is a single carriageway pocked with potholes.
The scheme will also include the Ramu Highway between Watarais and Madang, the Gulf to Southern Highlands highway, the Sepik Coastal Highway, the Magi Highway between Hoskins and Kimbe and other road systems.
Further projects include two special economic zones for the industrial processing of agricultural produce. One of these is will be a 150ha development in the Eastern Highlands and the other will be a 130ha project in the Western Highlands.
There will also be a $32 million scheme in Goroka to improve the water supply.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the deal was the result of PNG’s place in the maritime element of the Belt and Road initiative, China’s grand strategy for developing trading relations and investment markets in Australasia and Eurasia.
The deals were signed with PNG regional governors and Zhang Zongyan, the president of China Railway Group.
The first project to be developed will be highlands industrial parks, which will concentrate on export crops such as mushrooms, rice and livestock.
A scientific and technological research base and training centre will help promote the modernisation of PNG agricultural science.
The high-priority economic road project plans to upgrade 10 highways that will link and connect the whole of PNG.