13th Richest Man in the World

By Emmanuel Narokobi

Must be the year for Billionaires in PNG or something. Earlier in the year we had Hyatt Hotel chain heir Tony Pritzker and Jim Clarke, (founder of Netscape) sailing around West New Britain, even actor Mathew McConaughey came to surf at Nusa Island Resort in New Ireland. Then Denis O’Brien, founder and owner of Digicel Group pops into town for his company’s launching and some beers at Lamana and now Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, or just Prince Al-Waleed dropped in for a chat yesterday with Grand Chief Somare.

When the 13th Richest Man in the world is taking the time for an hour’s stop in our town that must mean only one thing?! ….That big 767-400 must’ve run out of fuel???

…but seriously it’s an intriguing thought to think that we may be seeing more queries about investing here from billionaires and millionaires alike. I just hope that our Superfunds can get in on the action too so that we can participate in big business in some way. And I secretly hope that if they do put money in PNG that they don’t do things too quickly in my industry so that maybe there’s some hope for me to become a billionaire too with sunnies from Gucci.


picture from Sunday Chronicle (PNG’s only locally owned newspaper)


27 thoughts on “13th Richest Man in the World

  1. Well Prince Al-Waleed’s ‘Kingdom Holding Company‘ has quite allot of investments in hotels and hotel management companies like the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts so I think if he did put money in PNG it would be more along the lines of tourism.

    His company’s investment focus in order of priority is as follows:
    KHC focuses its investments on a number of key growth and value added industry sectors. Specifically the focus is on the following areas:

    Banking and Financial Services – a focus on the financial services industry and utilisation of cross-industry relationships, economic information and market intelligence from its existing financial services portfolio to identify additional opportunities for investment.

    Hotels and Management Companies – the purchase and development of new hotels and existing hotel chains and brands and individual hotel properties. KHC seeks to acquire hotels and adapt their management and brands to best suit prevailing local market conditions, thus increasing their revenue and value.

    Real Estate – purchasing and development of land for commercial, leisure, retail and residential projects.

    Other – KHC pursues opportunistic investments in a focussed range of sectors with emphasis on investments in TMT, consumer, healthcare and industrial sectors.

  2. I totally agree with todays editorial in the Post Courier. If we want to attract serious investment in PNG we have to make it easier for potential to come and start up business here.

    Law and Order and infrastructure are longer term issues but cutting the red tape to make it easier to start a business should be an immediate priority.

    At least the incentives given to the tourism industry in the last budget seem to be causing some interests

  3. Reminds me of a suggestion that was made sometime ago about opening Tokua airport to receive international flights so that transit between the other pacific islands would be easier and also to get more people into PNG to the tourism hotspots instead of coming through POM.

  4. Seems like the old adage that “Pacific is the last frontier” is beginning to come true. After all, we are sitting on a massive, massive expanse of OCEAN, which scientists say will be the energy powerhouse of the future. They are coming up with thermal energy, wave energy, current energy and all sorts of energy from the Ocean and I read this somewhere: “Jacques Cousteau said the Ocean was equivalent to 16,000 nuclear Plants”.
    Well, if I was a sheik in the crude oil business and things are running out, why not start looking to the Pacific? After all, the natives there are sitting on the world’s future oil supply and chances are they don’t even know it! ☺

  5. There is an immense amount of energy in the oceans but it also has its share of challenges. Either its too intermittent as in the case of tidal and wave power or its expensive as in OTEC plants. The sea is also a very harsh environment. The installation and maintenance costs are very high and in the case of wave or tidal you need an expensive energy storage system. All of these technologies are somewhat limited in their scope. Theres only really 40-50 places in the world where tide power is effective for example (but several of those spots are in the Gulf of Papua!)

    I would say that currently land based systems such as wind, solar and geothermal offer more opportunities but maybe in a generation or so we could see ocean energy becoming a player.

  6. Tidal wave power would be immense…if that could be harnessed then forget unsightly windmills and propellers scattered across the hills or cumbersome solar power installations. And it should cost like K500/annum for a house (maybe..just a wild guess).

    Danger, who identified the Gulf as a potential location?

  7. Hi Emmanuel,
    Investment from large foreign owned corporation in Fiji not as big as there in PNG; poor response to our resource sectors I’m afraid…but you can find big presence in banks, Coca Cola is here, some call centres, one or two US names software developers partnering with locals, Vodafone, Digicel of course, Emperor until recently..and of course some big tourism names have been coming here…
    By the way, here is an interesting bit from http://www.oceanenergycouncil.com: “The US Department of Energy estimates that 81% of new power demand in the next 20 years will not come from fossil fuels. This creates an estimated $117 Billion/Year non fossil fuel industry.”
    Interesting, huh….also curious to see what would be discussed at the first ever World Future Energy Summit to be held in Abu Dhabi Jan 21-23, 2008. Among topics discussed: Ocean power.

  8. Yeah I think Fiji would be very good on the service side of industry, the call centre for ANZ for PNG is based in Fiji. Thanks will check out that website looks interesting.

    Would be nice if our governments can get a slice of that $117 Billion/year.

  9. To Wanna Be (aug 28): as to your comment and assuming we want to change the corrupt face of PNG; if PNG is to attract serious non-corrupt foreign investors, then having established, efficient infrastructure is vital, no? The same goes for transparency in law and order. This should be a priority, not a long term objective. I think cutting red tape as you put it has been going on for far too long in PNG!

    What right minded investor would want to invest in a country that lacks such basic requirements? PNG in looking after it’s future, through sustainability, should be targeting those investors who have been in the game for a longer time than those who are after a quick buck… as has been the case throughout much of PNG’s recent history. It’s time PNG changed it’s habits.. it’s tough, but the ways of the past haven’t produced much positive investment attraction from reputable players and, more importantly, has completely ignored the most important objective – the betterment of the nation and its people.

  10. Thanks for the comments Tess. Large investments will always be complicated by the simple fact that you have allot of moving parts to make it work. Unfortunately for us today we are already feeling the effects of some of these short sighted decisions.

    The only way out now is to either introduce direct competition to eradicate harmful monopolies and/or to expand down stream opportunities. Whatever the industry this can be done through an efficient licensing structure and relaxed financing sources for sustainable businesses to grow and prosper at all levels of an industry.

    The more PNG’eans in business the more we will learn about business and hopefully the better we will get at it.

  11. It is nice to know that there are people who want to invest some big money into PNG and that it will do the PNG economy a lot of good. But my question is “Is PNG ready or can PNG handle that kind of money..” In our not too long History it has been shown that we are incapable of handling large sums of money and large sums of money being in the hands of the powers to be has only resulted in breeding and fostering corruption. I would hate to think what would happen with the kind of money that the LNG etc would bring into our nation would do to this land of ours

  12. Manu,

    This is a great post. The experience out here is that we have got to make PNG a place where people ‘want to visit’. Any interest in PNG should galvanise action in making the country a place where people want to go and who come away saying they couldn’t get enough of the great things PNG has to offer. We also need to offer peace of mind. There isn’t enough strategic thinking for PNG’s development which is really sad.

    Thank you for sharing the news of these VIMs and VIBs dropping by. PNG is indeed blessed by this interest and so should everyone who visits.


    1. piss flap the wonderful(but how can you be wonderful?)

      Mate lighten up mate,give us all the benefit of doubt;what is the problem?
      We are all as frastrated as you are so why the language?

      Be happy and smile you are on candid camera!

  13. piss flaps the wonderful (how can you be wonderful?),

    LOL…Man! Are we all that bad?Give us a break mate.You are entitled to your opinio but not like this.

    If you are female,then all I can is Sori tumas poro, lighten up!

  14. Hello, sry for my bad english but Ih ave observed your web page and would say that I locate your posts great since they have give me new suggestions and new aspects. Many thanks for this details.. you said it my friend. Dont leave us hanging I want to hear more please. Thanks. fantastic fantastic .

  15. He cant be the 13th richest man in the world because Peter ONeill has just overtaken him on the 20th of January 2014.

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