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East Asia & the Pacific

Linking People, Creating Jobs in Papua New Guinea

When IFC-backed telecommunications company Digicel entered the Papua New Guinea market in 2006, it brought reliable and affordable mobile phone services to millions of people. It also created new jobs for some 30,000 people who sell Digicel airtime.

One of them is Mary, who sells the cards at a market stall in rural Rabaul in Papua New Guinea’s east. She has grown her business to include eight staff, mostly young men who were previously unemployed.

“It has given lots of work to men who couldn’t get jobs and makes them good people,” she says.

To help entrepreneurs like Mary build on their success, IFC Advisory Services designed a business training program that teaches Digicel airtime credit distributors business planning, sales, and customer service skills, helping them grow their businesses, create jobs, and earn higher incomes.

IFC recently held workshops in Mount Hagen and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea focused on customer care and improving sales skills. The program, adapted from IFC’s Business Edge training product, targets about 120 enterprises, mostly micro, small, and medium businesses.

Joe Lumaris, Deputy Principal of TAFE International Education Agency, found the training course to be professional and easy to use. “The Business Edge training materials and program are excellent. It’s very user friendly,” said Joe. 

Digicel distributors will also be taught how to transfer credit electronically from Digicel to customers via their own phones instead of selling scratch top-up cards. For distributors in remote areas lacking secure storage facilities, removing cards from the process will increase business prospects and help increase access to telecommunications for more people.

“IFC’s Business Edge product will help our retailers better manage and grow their businesses,” says John Mangos, CEO of Digicel Papua New Guinea. “This is a win-win proposition for our clients as it will improve customer service and increase access to telecommunications products and services.”

IFC has invested more than $100 million in Digicel to expand services in the Pacific, including in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.


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