Former PNG diplomat is new MSG Secretary-General

Papua New Guinea’s former diplomat and senior public servant Leonard Louma has been appointed Director-General for the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The appointment, announced by Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister and current MSG Chair James Marape, comes nearly two years after the departure of Amena Yauvoli who is now Fiji’s Ambassador to the US. Yauvoli held the position from 2016 until early 2020.

In his statement, Marape stated that was satisfied that due process had been followed in the appointment process, expressing confidence in Louma to lift the visions, spirit, and solidarity of the MSG and moreover lead the regional sub-grouping secretariat into new heights.

It is understood that Louma has officially accepted the appointment and preparations are now underway to enable him to take up his posting in the MSG Secretariat headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Louma who hails from Milne Bay Province in PNG has more than 30 years of senior management experience in both the government and private sector. He served in the PNG Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (USA) and the PNG embassies in Paris (France) and Beijing (China). He was responsible for opening the PNG Embassy in Paris as Charge D’Affaires and was PNG’s roving Ambassador to APEC, ASEAN, ESCAP, and concurrently PNG High Commissioner to Singapore.

Nationally he had served as head of several departments within the PNG Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Prime Minister. In the latter, he served as Special Advisor on International Relations, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs matters to the Prime Minister and subsequently
as Chief of Staff to the late Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare from 2005 – 2011.

Regionally, he has been involved in the development and implementation of many regional initiatives such as the original Pacific Plan and its successor in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, MSG’s 2038 Prosperity for all Plan as a member of an Eminent Person, The MSG Trade Agreement, Re-enlistment of New Caledonia on the UN list of Non-Self Governing Territories, the development and negotiation of the binding tariffs for PNG’s WTO membership bid, and the development of the Pacific Island Forum’s Boe Declaration.

Prior to his appointment, Louma engaged privately as a free-lance consultant providing strategic advisory services to the PNG Government including strategic business advisories to several private organisations and businesses in the country.

Photo: MSG Secretariat

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