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Papua New Guinea :: East & Southeast Asia



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. Since 2001, Bougainville has experienced autonomy; a referendum asking the population if they would like independence or greater self rule occurred in November 2019, with almost 98% of voters choosing independence.



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
country comparison to the world: 56

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than California

Land boundaries:

total: 824 km
border countries (1): Indonesia 824 km


5,152 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines


tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation


mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills


mean elevation: 667 m
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:

agricultural land: 2.6% (2011 est.)
arable land: 0.7% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 1.5% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0.4% (2011 est.)
forest: 63.1% (2011 est.)
other: 34.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:

0 sq km (2012)

Population distribution:

population concentrated in the highlands and eastern coastal areas on the island of New Guinea; predominantly a rural distribution with only about one-fifth of the population residing in urban areas

Natural hazards:

active volcanism; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis ++ volcanism: severe volcanic activity; Ulawun (2,334 m), 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 (688 m) 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; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

Environment - current issues:

rain forest loss as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; unsustainable logging practices result in soil erosion, water quality degredation, and loss of habitat and biodiversity; large-scale mining projects cause adverse impacts on forests and water quality (discharge of heavy metals, cyanide, and acids into rivers); severe drought; inappropriate farming practices accelerate land degradion (soil erosion, siltation, loss of soil fertility); destructive fishing practices and coastal pollution due to run-off from land-based activities and oil spills

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:

note 1: shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; generally east-west trending highlands break up New Guinea into diverse ecoregions; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast ++ note 2: Papua New Guinea is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

People and Society


7,259,456 (July 2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102


noun: Papua New Guinean(s)
adjective: Papua New Guinean

Ethnic groups:

Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian


Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), some 839 indigenous languages spoken (about 12% of the world's total); many languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers
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%


Protestant 64.3% (Evangelical Lutheran 18.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 12.9%, Pentecostal 10.4%, United Church 10.3%, Evangelical Alliance 5.9%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.8%, Salvation Army .4%), Roman Catholic 26%, other Christian 5.3%, non-Christian 1.4%, unspecified 3.1% (2011 est.)
note: data represent only the citizen population; roughly .3% of the population are non-citizens, consisting of Christian 52% (predominantly Roman Catholic), other 10.7% , none 37.3%

Age structure:

0-14 years: 31.98% (male 1,182,539/female 1,139,358)
15-24 years: 19.87% (male 731,453/female 711,164)
25-54 years: 37.68% (male 1,397,903/female 1,337,143)
55-64 years: 5.83% (male 218,529/female 204,717)
65 years and over: 4.64% (male 164,734/female 171,916) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 63.2
youth dependency ratio: 57.4
elderly dependency ratio: 5.8
potential support ratio: 17.2 (2020 est.)

Median age:

total: 24 years
male: 24 years
female: 24 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Population growth rate:

1.6% (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Birth rate:

22.5 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Death rate:

6.7 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92

Population distribution:

population concentrated in the highlands and eastern coastal areas on the island of New Guinea; predominantly a rural distribution with only about one-fifth of the population residing in urban areas


urban population: 13.3% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 2.51% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

383,000 PORT MORESBY (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

145 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58

Infant mortality rate:

total: 33.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 36.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 29.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 67.8 years
male: 65.6 years
female: 70 years (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179

Total fertility rate:

2.84 children born/woman (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

36.7% (2016/18)

Drinking water source:

improved: urban: 89.4% of population
rural: 36.1% of population
total: 43% of population
unimproved: urban: 10.6% of population
rural: 63.9% of population
total: 57% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure:

2.5% (2017)

Physicians density:

0.05 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access:

improved: urban: 55.5% of population
rural: 9.1% of population
total: 15.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 44.5% of population
rural: 90.9% of population
total: 84.8% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.8% (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

52,000 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

<1000 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

21.3% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 91

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

27.8% (2010)
country comparison to the world: 8

Education expenditures:

1.9% of GDP (2018)
country comparison to the world: 164


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 64.2%
male: 65.6%
female: 62.8% (2015)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 3.6%
male: 4.3%
female: 3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

People - note:

the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea (PNG) 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


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
etymology: the word "papua" derives from the Malay "papuah" describing the frizzy hair of the Melanesians; Spanish explorer Ynigo ORTIZ de RETEZ applied the term "Nueva Guinea" to the island of New Guinea in 1545 after noting the resemblance of the locals to the peoples of the Guinea coast of Africa

Government type:

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Port Moresby
geographic coordinates: 9 27 S, 147 11 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
note: Papua New Guinea has two time zones, including Bougainville (UTC+11) ++ etymology: named in 1873 by Captain John Moresby (1830-1922) in honor of his father, British Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby (1786-1877)

Administrative divisions:

20 provinces, 1 autonomous region*, and 1 district**; Bougainville*, Central, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Gulf, Hela, Jiwaka, Madang, Manus, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital**, New Ireland, Northern, Southern Highlands, Western, Western Highlands, West New Britain, West Sepik


16 September 1975 (from the Australia-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 16 September (1975)


history: adopted 15 August 1975, effective at independence 16 September 1975
amendments: proposed by the National Parliament; passage has prescribed majority vote requirements depending on the constitutional sections being amended – absolute majority, two-thirds majority, or three-fourths majority; amended many times, last in 2014

Legal system:

mixed legal system of English common law and customary law

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Papua New Guinea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Grand Chief Sir Bob DADAE (since 28 February 2017)
head of government: Prime Minister James MARAPE (since 30 May 2019); Deputy Prime Minister Charles ABEL (since 4 August 2017)
cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general nominated by the National Parliament and appointed by the chief of state; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general pending the outcome of a National Parliament vote
election results: Peter Paire O'NEILL (PNC) reelected prime minister; National Parliament vote - 60 to 46

Legislative branch:

description: unicameral National Parliament (111 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies - 89 local, 20 provinicial, the autonomous province of Bouganville, and the National Capital District - by majority preferential vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - the constitution allows up to 126 seats
elections: last held from 24 June 2017 to 8 July 2017 (next to be held in June 2022)
election results: percent of vote by party - PNC 37%; NA 13%; Pangu 14%; URP 11%; PPP 4%; SDP 4%; Independents 3%; and smaller parties 14%; seats by party - NA; composition - men 108, women 3, percent of women 3%

Judicial branch:

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, deputy chief justice, 35 justices, and 5 acting justices); National Courts (consists of 13 courts located in the provincial capitals, with a total of 19 resident judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor general upon advice of the National Executive Council (cabinet) after consultation with the National Justice Administration minister; deputy chief justice and other justices appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a 5-member body that includes the Supreme Court chief and deputy chief justices, the chief ombudsman, and a member of the National Parliament; full-time citizen judges appointed for 10-year renewable terms; non-citizen judges initially appointed for 3-year renewable terms and after first renewal can serve until age 70; appointment and tenure of National Court resident judges NA
subordinate courts: district, village, and juvenile courts, military courts, taxation courts, coronial courts, mining warden courts, land courts, traffic courts, committal courts, grade five courts

Political parties and leaders:

National Alliance Party or NAP [Patrick PRUAITCH] ++ Papua and Niugini Union Party or PANGU [Sam BASIL] ++ Papua New Guinea Party or PNGP [Belden NAMAH] ++ People's National Congress Party or PNC [Peter Paire O'NEILL] ++ People's Party or PP [Peter IPATAS] ++ People's Progress Party or PPP [Sir Julius CHAN] ++ Social Democratic Party or SDP [Powes PARKOP] ++ Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party or THE [Don POLYE] ++ United Resources Party or URP [William DUMA]
note: as of 8 July 2017, 45 political parties were registered

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge D'Affaires Cephas KAYO (since 31 January 2018)
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 Erin Elizabeth MCKEE (since 27 November 2019); note - also accredited to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu
telephone: [675] 321-1455
embassy: P.O. Box 1492, Port Moresby
mailing address: 4240 Port Moresby Place, US Department of State, Washington DC 20521-4240
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 symbol(s):

bird of paradise; national colors: red, black

National anthem:

name: O Arise All You Sons
lyrics/music: Thomas SHACKLADY
note: adopted 1975


Economic overview:

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by rugged terrain, land tenure issues, and the high cost of developing infrastructure. The economy has a small formal sector, focused mainly on the export of those natural resources, and an informal sector, employing the majority of the population. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for 85% of the people. The global financial crisis had little impact because of continued foreign demand for PNG's commodities. ++ Mineral deposits, including copper, gold, and oil, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. Natural gas reserves amount to an estimated 155 billion cubic meters. Following construction of a $19 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, PNG LNG, a consortium led by ExxonMobil, began exporting liquefied natural gas to Asian markets in May 2014. The project was delivered on time and only slightly above budget. The success of the project has encouraged other companies to look at similar LNG projects. French supermajor Total is hopes to begin construction on the Papua LNG project by 2020. Due to lower global commodity prices, resource revenues of all types have fallen dramatically. PNG's government has recently been forced to adjust spending levels downward. ++ Numerous challenges still face the government of Peter O'NEILL, including providing physical security for foreign investors, regaining investor confidence, restoring integrity to state institutions, promoting economic efficiency by privatizing moribund state institutions, and maintaining good relations with Australia, its former colonial ruler. Other socio-cultural challenges could upend the economy including chronic law and order and land tenure issues. In August, 2017, PNG launched its first-ever national trade policy, PNG Trade Policy 2017-2032. The policy goal is to maximize trade and investment by increasing exports, to reduce imports, and to increase foreign direct investment (FDI).

GDP real growth rate:

2.5% (2017 est.)
1.6% (2016 est.)
5.3% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

5.4% (2017 est.)
6.7% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187

Credit ratings:

Moody's rating: B2 (2016)
Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

GDP (purchasing power parity) - real:

$30.19 billion (2017 est.)
$29.44 billion (2016 est.)
$28.98 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$19.82 billion (2017 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$3,700 (2017 est.)
$3,600 (2016 est.)
$3,700 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 170

Gross national saving:

36.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
38% of GDP (2016 est.)
33.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 22.1% (2017 est.)
industry: 42.9% (2017 est.)
services: 35% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 43.7% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 19.7% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 10% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.4% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 49.3% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -22.3% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores:

80.1 (2020)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla; poultry, pork; shellfish


copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining (gold, silver, copper); crude oil and petroleum products; construction, tourism, livestock (pork, poultry, cattle), dairy products, spice products (turmeric, vanilla, ginger, cardamom, chili, pepper, citronella, and nutmeg), fisheries products

Industrial production growth rate:

3.3% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Labor force:

3.681 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 85%
industry: NA
services: NA

Unemployment rate:

2.5% (2017 est.)
2.5% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29

Population below poverty line:

37% (2002 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 40.5% (1996)


revenues: 3.638 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.591 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

18.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-4.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168

Public debt:

36.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
36.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Current account balance:

$4.859 billion (2017 est.)
$4.569 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30


$8.522 billion (2017 est.)
$9.224 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105

Exports - partners:

Australia 18.9%, Singapore 17.5%, Japan 13.8%, China 12.7%, Philippines 4.7%, Netherlands 4.2%, India 4.2% (2017)

Exports - commodities:

liquefied natural gas, oil, gold, copper ore, nickel, cobalt logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, copra, spice (turmeric, vanilla, ginger, and cardamom), crayfish, prawns, tuna, sea cucumber


$1.876 billion (2017 est.)
$2.077 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173

Imports - commodities:

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

Imports - partners:

Australia 30.1%, China 17.3%, Singapore 10.2%, Malaysia 8.2%, Indonesia 4% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$1.735 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.656 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123

Debt - external:

$17.94 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$18.28 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95

Exchange rates:

kina (PGK) per US dollar -
3.5131 (2020 est.)
3.4042 (2019 est.)
3.36915 (2018 est.)
2.7684 (2014 est.)
2.4614 (2013 est.)


Electricity access:

electrification - total population: 58.9% (2018)
electrification - urban areas: 82% (2018)
electrification - rural areas: 55.4% (2018)

Electricity - production:

3.481 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129

Electricity - consumption:

3.237 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

900,900 kW (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

63% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

30% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

7% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95

Crude oil - production:

45,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55

Crude oil - exports:

55,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41

Crude oil - imports:

22,220 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

Crude oil - proved reserves:

183.8 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57

Refined petroleum products - production:

22,170 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

37,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Refined petroleum products - exports:

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190

Refined petroleum products - imports:

17,110 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134

Natural gas - production:

11.18 billion cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39

Natural gas - consumption:

99.11 million cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109

Natural gas - exports:

11.1 billion cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Natural gas - proved reserves:

210.5 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

6.082 million Mt (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129


Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 133,593
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.87 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total subscriptions: 3,401,971
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47.62 (2019 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137

Telecommunication systems:

general assessment: services are minimal; Internet slow and expensive; facilities provide radiotelephone and telegraph, coastal radio, aeronautical radio, and international radio communication services; a great deal of the population is under served in telecommunications; terrain, living conditions and economic stability is not high; 2G still exists in rural areas, 3G and 4G LTE in urban areas; the launch of the Kacific-1 satellite in 2019, will improve most services in the region (2020)
domestic: access to telephone services is not widely available; fixed-line 2 per 100 and mobile-cellular 48 per 100 person, teledensity has increased (2019)
international: country code - 675; landing points for the Kumul Domestic Submarine Cable System, PNG-LNG, APNG-2, CSCS and the PPC-1 submarine cables to Australia, Guam, PNG and Solomon Islands; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media:

4 TV stations: 1 commercial station operating since 1987, 1 state-run station launched in 2008, 1 digital free-to-view network launched in 2014, and 1 satellite network Click TV (PNGTV) launched in 2015; the 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 (2018)

Internet country code:


Internet users:

total: 787,764
percent of population: 11.21% (July 2018 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146

Broadband - fixed subscriptions:

total: 17,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157


National air transport system:

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 48
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 964,713 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 30.93 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

P2 (2016)


561 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 11

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 21 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2017)
under 914 m: 1 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 540 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 53 (2013)
under 914 m: 476 (2013)


2 (2013)


264 km oil (2013)


total: 9,349 km (2011)
paved: 3,000 km (2011)
unpaved: 6,349 km (2011)
country comparison to the world: 137


11,000 km (2011)
country comparison to the world: 12

Merchant marine:

total: 171
by type: bulk carrier 7, general cargo 76, oil tanker 3, other 85 (2019)
country comparison to the world: 69

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Kimbe, Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Wewak
LNG terminal(s) (export): Port Moresby

Military and Security

Military and security forces:

Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF, includes land, maritime, and air elements) (2019)

Military expenditures:

0.4% of GDP (2019)
0.4% of GDP (2018)
0.4% of GDP (2017)
0.4% of GDP (2016)
0.5% of GDP (2015)
country comparison to the world: 154

Military and security service personnel strengths:

the Papau New Guinea Defense Force has approximately 3,000 active duty troops (2,700 Ground; 200 Maritime; 100 Air) (2019)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions:

the PNGDF has a limited inventory consisting of a diverse mix of foreign-supplied weapons and equipment; Papau New Guinea receives most of its military assistance from Australia; since 2010, it has also received equipment from China and New Zealand (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation:

16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription; graduation from grade 12 required (2013)

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): 9,368 (Indonesia) (2019)
IDPs: 14,000 (natural disasters, tribal conflict, inter-communal violence, development projects) (2019)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Papua New Guinea is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; foreign and Papua New Guinean women and children are subjected to sex trafficking, domestic servitude, forced begging, and street vending; parents may sell girls into forced marriages to settle debts or as peace offerings or trade them to another tribe to forge a political alliance, leaving them vulnerable to forced domestic service, or, in urban areas, they may prostitute their children for income or to pay school fees; Chinese, Malaysian, and local men are forced to labor in logging and mining camps through debt bondage schemes; migrant women from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude at logging and mining camps, fisheries, and entertainment sites
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Papua New Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the Criminal Code Amendment of 2013, which prohibits all forms of trafficking was brought into force in 2014; the government also formed an anti-trafficking committee, which drafted a national action plan; despite corruption problems, trafficking-related crimes were prosecuted in village courts rather than criminal courts, resulting in restitution to the victim but no prison time for offenders; the government did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any officials or law enforcement personnel complicit in trafficking offenses; the government made no efforts to proactively identify trafficking victims, has no formal victim identification and referral mechanism, and does not provide care facilities to victims or funding to shelters run by NGOs or international organizations (2015)

Illicit drugs:

major consumer of cannabis