Papua New Guinea: Factsheet


This factsheet is as shown in the CIA's World Factbook (dated 03.11.2010)


For a more cultural and positive perspective have a look at our  Provincial Factsheet. You may also like to review Wikipedia or BBC country profile for differing prospectives.


Geography ~ People ~ Government ~ Economy ~ Communications ~ Transportation ~ Military ~ Trans-national Issues





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
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


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

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


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6,064,515 (July 2010 est.)

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.)

Birth rate:

26.95 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Death rate:

6.62 deaths/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Net migration rate:



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
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
male: 63.78 years
female: 68.31 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate:

3.54 children born/woman (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1.5% (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

54,000 (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)

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)


The three official languages are English, Tok Pisin, and Motu; there are approximately 860 other languages


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


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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 governor general Sir Paulius MATANE (since 29 June 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Sir Michael SOMARE (since 2 August 2002); Deputy Prime Minister Puka TEMU (since 29 August 2007)
cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; the governor general is 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 is 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 - National Alliance 27, PNGP 8, PAP 6, URP 6, PANGU 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 Democratic Movement or PDM [Michael OGIO]; People's Action Party or PAP [Gabriel KAPRIS]; United Resources Party or URP [William DUMA] (2007)

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:


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


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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. A consortium led by a major American oil company plans to begin the commercialization of the country's estimated 227 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves through the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility that could begin exporting in 2013 or 2014; the largest investment project in the country's history, it received a green light in December 2009 and 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):

$13.74 billion (2009 est.)
$13.15 billion (2008 est.)
$12.32 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$7.907 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.5% (2009 est.)
6.7% (2008 est.)
7.2% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$2,300 (2009 est.)
$2,300 (2008 est.)
$2,200 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 33.5%
industry: 35%
services: 31.5% (2009 est.)

Labor force:

3.723 million (2009 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

industry: NA%
services: NA% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:

1.8% up to 80% in urban areas (2004)

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)

Investment (gross fixed):

16.1% of GDP (2009 est.)


revenues: $2.414 billion
expenditures: $2.427 billion (2009 est.)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Public debt:

30.2% of GDP (2009 est.)
31.5% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

6.9% (2009 est.)
10.7% (2008 est)

Central bank discount rate:

6.92% (31 December 2009)
7.00% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

10.09% (31 December 2009)
9.2% (31 December 2008)

Stock of money:

$2.005 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.685 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:

$4.224 billion (31 December 2009)
$3.527 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:

$2.065 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.486 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$6.632 billion (2006)
$4.863 billion (2005)

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:

5.0% (2009 est.)
6.3% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production:

2.885 billion kWh (2007 est.)
2.875 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - consumption:

2.683 billion kWh (2007 est.)
2.674 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

fossil fuel: 54.1%
hydro: 45.9%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Oil - production:

35,090 bbl/day (2009 est)
38,100 bbl/day (2008)

Oil - consumption:

36,000 bbl/day (2009 est)
33,000 bbl/day (2008)

Oil - exports:

32,490 bbl/day (2007)

Oil - imports:

14,380 bbl/day (2007)

Oil - proved reserves:

88 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Natural gas - production:

100 million cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

100 million cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

226.5 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)

Current account balance:

-$548.7 million (2009 est.)
$768.1 million (2008 est.)


$4.326 billion (2009 est.)
$5.805 billion (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:

oil, gold, copper ore, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish, prawns

Exports - partners:

Australia 30.05%, Japan 7.48.2%


$2.817 billion (2009 est.)
$3.14 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners:

Australia 43.27%, China 13.29%, Singapore 9.59%,U.S 6.4%,  Japan 4.62% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.607 billion (2009 est.)
$1.987 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:

$2.32 billion (2009 est.)
$2.511 billion (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:


Currency (code):

kina (PGK)

Currency code:


Exchange rates:

kina (PGK) per US dollar -
2.766 (2009),
2.6956 (2008),
3.03 (2007)
3.0643 (2006)
3.08 (2005)


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Telephones - main lines in use:

60,000 (2008)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

600,000 (2008)

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 now widely available; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is 11 per 100 persons
international: country code - 675; submarine cables to Australia and Guam; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); international radio communication service (2008)

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)
3,432 (2009)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

5 (2008)

Internet users:

120,000 (2008)


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562 (2010)

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 (2009)


oil 195 km (2009)


9,349 km (2010)


11,000 km (2006)

Merchant marine:

total: 28
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 24, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 7 (UAE 6, Malaysia) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Kimbe, Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Wewak


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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.)


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Transnational Issues


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



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