Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape has met with representatives of the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) – the independent non-profit affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce that works at strengthening democracy worldwide through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.

The meeting was with Mr John Morrell, Regional Director – Asia Pacific; and Mr Eric Hontz, Director for Centre for Accountable Investments; and was part of the Prime Minister’s engagement with the American private sector this week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders Meeting.

In his presentation, Mr Morrell highlighted CIPE’s operations in Papua New Guinea, stating CIPE has been in the country since 2013 and has been undertaking various activities, specifically focusing on women’s economic empowerment, human rights, anti-corruption, and transparency and accountability.

These activities include the creation of the PNG Women’s’ Chamber of Commerce to increase economic empowerment for Papua New Guinean women, the establishment of the PNG Women’s Business Resource Centre; and the engagement with PNG’s tertiary institutions to include business programs into these institutions.

The PNGWBRC, based in Port Moresby, has been successful in making resources available to women of all background to help them start their own businesses. Resources include training in financial literacy, banking, marketing and other necessary business skills, as well as a location where women can gather, discuss and network.

Mr Morrell reported some 10,000 women have been directly impacted by PNGWBRC’s services with over 100 PNG women currently operating their small businesses out of the centre. CIPE and PNGWBRC target a 300 entrepreneurs turnover a year.

CIPE is also working with University of PNG, Pacific Adventist University and Divine Word University to create content on entrepreneurship to graduate students with a degree in this area as a way of empowering women in business.

PAU is now offering entrepreneurship as a major course because of the CIPE program in the country.

CIPE has also partnered with the Institute of National Affairs to examine market trends on economic development and commerce, and other economic and political issues.

Mr Morrell assured the Prime Minister of CIPE’s commitment to Papua New Guinea, and using their office in Port Moresby, as a base to expand throughout the Pacific community.

CIPE now has programming in Kiribati, Fiji, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands replicating a lot of the work that it has been doing in Papua New Guinea.

Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to Mr Morrell and his team and said he looked forward to more things ahead.

The Prime Minister was accompanied in the meeting by Minister for Public Service, Hon. Joe Sungi; Minister for Labour and Employment, Hon. Kessy Sawang; Member for Moresby East, Hon. John Kaupa; and Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Elias Wohengu.