COVID-19’s Arrival in PNG: The Effects on MSMEs Owned or Operated by Women

8.24.2020, 8:00PM to 9:00PM


Like many other countries, Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) already struggling economy has been further devastated by the onset of COVID-19. Businesses have been especially impacted by the State of Emergency measures introduced, as marketplaces were forced closed and transport of goods across both international and domestic borders was blocked. As the Government of PNG introduces relief programs to revitalize the economy, recovery efforts will need to be inclusive and address the demands of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) – in particular those in the informal economy, which employ over 80% of PNG adults and is the source of income for 90% of households.

Please join as CIPE hosts a panel on the impact of COVID-19 on PNG MSMEs. New survey results on the conditions of 298 PNG women-owned and -operated MSMEs will be shared with further insights from local MSME leaders, to contribute to other efforts aiming to capture how this group is faring under COVID-19.



Andrew Wilson – Executive Director, CIPE


John Morrell – Regional Director for Asia & The Pacific, CIPE


Eli Webb – PNG Country Director, CIPE

Des Yaninen – President, MSME Council

Sylvia Pascoe – MSME businesswoman and local community leader


Eli Webb joined CIPE as the PNG Country Director in November 2015 to assist in rolling out a series of projects in CIPE’s efforts towards building a stronger entrepreneurial foundation for the PNG community and advocate for the development and change in the Women’s Economic Empowerment environment. Prior to joining CIPE, Eli held a variety of roles ranging from 8 years with the Australian Government in the Human Services division and preceding that, a long stint in the Insurance field. Eli has previously been a local PNG Media personality in the music industry and successfully co-founded a small local NGO out of another one of the provinces, Lae, Morobe Province providing funding, counseling, and emergency accommodation for trauma patients of family and sexual violence. In her spare time, Eli is an active participant on boards for other development partners and in the sporting space also. Eli has previously been a PNG national representative in squash, recently competing in the 2019 Pacific Games, 2015 Pacific Games, 2014 Commonwealth Games. To complement this Eli was the previous President of the PNG National Squash Federation for 10 years and a member of the National Athletes Commission Board, and finally, she is a mother of 3 children.

Des Yaninen is a young Papua New Guinean business leader passionate about empowering Papua New Guineans through entrepreneurship. He has worked in the development finance industry for well over a decade. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Pacifund – a new Peer to Peer Lending platform for the Pacific. Prior to that, he spent 13 years at the National Development Bank of PNG (NDB) in various senior roles including CEO of NDB Investments. Notable achievements were the development of their Women in Business and Young Enterprise Scheme concessional loan programs. Des sits on several boards and committees including the PNG SME Corporation, Oil Search, PNG Institute of Directors, St John’s Ambulance and is the current President of the PNG MSME Council. Winner of the 2016 PNG Young Director of the year award, Des holds professional membership in CPA PNG, PNG Institute of Directors, Australian Institute of Company Directors and has qualifications in Accounting, Management and Finance from PNG and abroad.

Sylvia Pascoe is the founder and Managing Director of Pascoe Promotions and is an SME advocate who believes that Building Business Community Culture will economically empower and improve families, towns, and the nation. Her flagship SME programs are Pom City Markets, Harbourside Night Markets, SME Elevate Series of workshops, and upcoming programs include the soon to launch SME TV and the online market SME shop and directory, She writes a weekly SME feature for the country’s iconic newspaper, the Post Courier, and will be doing the same for a forthcoming lifestyle magazine PNG Now. Her most celebrated lifetime achievement is her two-year-old daughter Luna, who gives her all the reasons in the world to pursue change and development in PNG.