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Papua New Guinea Main Page


The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - was divided between Germany (north) and the UK (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997 after claiming some 20,000 lives.
Geography ::Papua New Guinea
Oceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates:
6 00 S, 147 00 E
Map references:
total: 462,840 sq km
country comparison to the world: 54
land: 452,860 sq km
water: 9,980 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries:
total: 820 km
border countries: Indonesia 820 km
5,152 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Current Weather
tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation
mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m
Natural resources:
gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries
Land use:
arable land: 0.49%
permanent crops: 1.4%
other: 98.11% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Total renewable water resources:
801 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.1 cu km/yr (56%/43%/1%)
per capita: 17 cu m/yr (1987)
Natural hazards:
active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis
volcanism: Papua New Guinea experiences severe volcanic activity; Ulawun (elev. 2,334 m, 7,657 ft), one of Papua New Guinea's potentially most dangerous volcanoes, has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Rabaul (elev. 688 m, 2,257 ft) destroyed the city of Rabaul in 1937 and 1994; Lamington erupted in 1951 killing 3,000 people; Manam's 2004 eruption forced the island's abandonment; other historically active volcanoes include Bam, Bagana, Garbuna, Karkar, Langila, Lolobau, Long Island, Pago, St. Andrew Strait, Victory, and Waiowa
Environment - current issues:
rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast
People ::Papua New Guinea
6,064,515 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.3% (male 1,126,214/female 1,088,211)
15-64 years: 59.3% (male 1,815,731/female 1,704,430)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 113,285/female 92,904) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.6 years
male: 21.9 years
female: 21.3 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.033% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
Birth rate:
26.95 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
Death rate:
6.62 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 112
urban population: 12% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.2 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 44.59 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 58
male: 48.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.99 years
country comparison to the world: 163
male: 63.78 years
female: 68.31 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.54 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.5% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
54,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2009)
noun: Papua New Guinean(s)
adjective: Papua New Guinean
Ethnic groups:
Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian
Roman Catholic 27%, Evangelical Lutheran 19.5%, United Church 11.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10%, Pentecostal 8.6%, Evangelical Alliance 5.2%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.5%, other Protestant 8.9%, Bahai 0.3%, indigenous beliefs and other 3.3% (2000 census)
Tok Pisin, English, and Hiri Motu are official languages; some 860 indigenous languages spoken (over one-tenth of the world's total)
note: Tok Pisin, a creole language, is widely used and understood; English is spoken by 1%-2%; Hiri Motu is spoken by less than 2%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.3%
male: 63.4%
female: 50.9% (2000 census)
Education expenditures:
People - note:
the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea is one of the most heterogeneous in the world; PNG has several thousand separate communities, most with only a few hundred people; divided by language, customs, and tradition, some of these communities have engaged in low-scale tribal conflict with their neighbors for millennia; the advent of modern weapons and modern migrants into urban areas has greatly magnified the impact of this lawlessness
Government ::Papua New Guinea
Country name:
conventional long form: Independent State of Papua New Guinea
conventional short form: Papua New Guinea
local short form: Papuaniugini
former: Territory of Papua and New Guinea
abbreviation: PNG
Government type:
constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
name: Port Moresby
geographic coordinates: 9 30 S, 147 10 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
18 provinces, 1 autonomous region*, and 1 district**; Bougainville*, Central, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Gulf, Madang, Manus, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital**, New Ireland, Northern, Sandaun, Southern Highlands, Western, Western Highlands, West New Britain
16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 16 September (1975)
16 September 1975
Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by acting governor general Michael OGIO (since 20 December 2010)
note: governor general Sir Paulias MATANE (since 29 June 2004) was replaced on 10 December 2010 when his reappointment to the office in May 2010 was declared null and void
head of government: Acting Prime Minister Sam ABAL (since 14 December 2010)
note: Prime Minister Sir Michael SOMARE (since 2 August 2002) stepped aside on 14 December 2010 because he was to be referred to a tribunal for not submitting three annual fiscal returns; Deputy Prime Minister Don POYLE (since 20 June 2010) was replaced on 9 December 2010 by Sam ABAL
cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; the governor general nominated by parliament and appointed by the chief of state; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of the majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general acting in accordance with a decision of the parliament
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament (109 seats, 89 filled from open electorates and 20 from provinces and national capital district; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); constitution allows up to 126 seats
elections: last held from 30 June to 10 July 2007; next to be held in June 2012
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA 27, PNGP 8, PAP 6, URP 6, PANGU PATI 5, PDM 5, independents 19, others 33; note - election to 1 seat was nullified
note: 15 other parties won 4 or fewer seats; association with political parties is fluid
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the proposal of the National Executive Council after consultation with the minister responsible for justice; other judges are appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission)
Political parties and leaders:
National Alliance Party or NA [Michael SOMARE]; Papua and Niugini Union Party or PANGU PATI [Andrew KUMBAKOR]; Papua New Guinea Party or PNGP [Sir Mekere MORAUTA]; People's Action Party or PAP [Gabriel KAPRIS]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Michael OGIO]; United Resources Party or URP [William DUMA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Ahora [Andrew MAMOKO] (represents local tribes); Centre for Environment Law and Community Rights or Celcor [Damien ASE]; Community Coalition Against Corruption
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Evan Jeremy PAKI
chancery: 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 745-3680
FAX: [1] (202) 745-3679
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Teddy B. TAYLOR
embassy: Douglas Street, Port Moresby, N.C.D.
mailing address: 4240 Port Moresby PI, US Department of State, Washington DC 20521-4240
telephone: [675] 321-1455
FAX: [675] 321-3423
Flag description:
divided diagonally from upper hoist-side corner; the upper triangle is red with a soaring yellow bird of paradise centered; the lower triangle is black with five, white, five-pointed stars of the Southern Cross constellation centered; red, black, and yellow are traditional colors of Papua New Guinea; the bird of paradise - endemic to the island of New Guinea - is an emblem of regional tribal culture and represents the emergence of Papua New Guinea as a nation; the Southern Cross, visible in the night sky, symbolizes Papua New Guinea's connection with Australia and several other countries in the South Pacific
National anthem:
name: "O Arise All You Sons"
lyrics/music: Thomas SHACKLADY
note: adopted 1975
Economy ::Papua New Guinea
Economy - overview:
Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain and the high cost of developing infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the population. Mineral deposits, including copper, gold, and oil, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. Natural gas reserves amount to an estimated 227 billion cubic meters. A consortium led by a major American oil company is constructing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility that could begin exporting in 2013 or 2014. As the largest investment project in the country's history, it has the potential to double GDP in the near-term and triple Papua New Guinea's export revenue. The government faces the challenge of ensuring transparency and accountability for revenues flowing from this and other large LNG projects. The government of Prime Minister SOMARE has expended much of its energy remaining in power. He was the first prime minister ever to serve a full five-year term. The government has brought stability to the national budget, largely through expenditure control; however, it relaxed spending constraints in 2006 and 2007 as elections approached. Numerous challenges still face the government, including providing physical security for foreign investors, regaining investor confidence, restoring integrity to state institutions, promoting economic efficiency by privatizing moribund state institutions, and balancing relations with Australia, its former colonial ruler. Other socio-cultural challenges could upend the economy including an HIV/AIDS epidemic, with the highest infection rate in all of East Asia and the Pacific, and chronic law and order and land tenure issues. The global financial crisis had little impact because of continued high demand for Papua New Guinea's commodities exports.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$14.93 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
$14.06 billion (2009 est.)
$13.33 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$8.809 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
5.5% (2009 est.)
6.7% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,500 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
$2,400 (2009 est.)
$2,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 32.2%
industry: 35.7%
services: 32.1% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
3.809 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 85%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
1.8% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 11
Population below poverty line:
37% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 40.5% (1996)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
50.9 (1996)
country comparison to the world: 19
Investment (gross fixed):
17.3% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
revenues: $2.917 billion
expenditures: $2.765 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
27.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
29.7% of GDP (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
6.9% (2009 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
6.92% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 58
7% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10.09% (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
9.2% (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$2.551 billion (31 December 2010 est)
$2.263 billion (31 December 2009 est)
Stock of broad money:
$4.726 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$4.14 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$2.796 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
$2.424 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2007)
$6.632 billion (31 December 2006)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla; shell fish; poultry, pork
copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production, petroleum refining; construction, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
10% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Electricity - production:
2.885 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
Electricity - consumption:
2.683 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
35,090 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
Oil - consumption:
36,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
Oil - exports:
32,490 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
Oil - imports:
14,380 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
Oil - proved reserves:
170 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
Natural gas - production:
100 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
Natural gas - consumption:
100 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
Natural gas - proved reserves:
226.5 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
Current account balance:
-$99 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
-$446.4 million (2009 est.)
$5.976 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
$4.392 billion (2009 est.)
Exports - commodities:
oil, gold, copper ore, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish, prawns
Exports - partners:
Australia 30.05%, Japan 7.48% (2009)
$3.547 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
$2.871 billion (2009 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Australia 43.27%, China 13.29%, Singapore 9.59%, US 6.4%, Japan 4.62% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.017 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
$2.607 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.548 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
$1.436 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Exchange rates:
kina (PGK) per US dollar - 2.7517 (2010), 2.7551 (2009), 2.6956 (2008), 3.03 (2007), 3.0643 (2006)
Communications ::Papua New Guinea
Telephones - main lines in use:
60,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 157
Telephones - mobile cellular:
900,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 147
Telephone system:
general assessment: services are minimal; facilities provide radiotelephone and telegraph, coastal radio, aeronautical radio, and international radio communication services
domestic: access to telephone services is not widely available; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 15 per 100 persons
international: country code - 675; submarine cables to Australia and Guam; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); international radio communication service (2009)
Broadcast media:
2 television stations, 1 commercial station operating since the late 1980s and 1 state-run station launched in 2008; satellite and cable TV services are available; state-run National Broadcasting Corporation operates 3 radio networks with multiple repeaters and about 20 provincial stations; several commercial radio stations with multiple transmission points as well as several community stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are accessible (2009)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
4,285 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 140
Internet users:
125,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 152
Transportation ::Papua New Guinea
562 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 12
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 21
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 541
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 63
under 914 m: 469 (2010)
2 (2010)
oil 195 km (2009)
total: 9,349 km
country comparison to the world: 136
paved: 3,000 km
unpaved: 6,349 km (2011)
11,000 km (2006)
country comparison to the world: 12
Merchant marine:
total: 28
country comparison to the world: 89
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 24, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 7 (Malaysia 1, UAE 6) (2010)
Ports and terminals:
Kimbe, Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Wewak
Military ::Papua New Guinea
Military branches:
Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF; includes Maritime Operations Element, Air Operations Element) (2009)
Military service age and obligation:
16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,532,378
females age 16-49: 1,440,528 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,103,479
females age 16-49: 1,107,479 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 66,139
female: 64,244 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
Transnational Issues ::Papua New Guinea
Disputes - international:
relies on assistance from Australia to keep out illegal cross-border activities from primarily Indonesia, including goods smuggling, illegal narcotics trafficking, and squatters and secessionists
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 10,177 (Indonesia) (2007)
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Papua New Guinea is a country of destination for women and children from Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and China trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; internal trafficking of women and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude occurs as well
tier rating: Tier 3 - Papua New Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the current legal framework does not contain elements of crimes that characterize trafficking; the government lacks victim protection services or a systematic procedure to identify victims of trafficking; the government did not prosecute anyone in 2007 for trafficking; Papua New Guinea has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)
Illicit drugs:
major consumer of cannabis supports I.C.E.Y. - H.O.P.E. (non-profit org)
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