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Countries > Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Flag

Languages   10 languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea. We have 13 products available for 5 of those languages.

Capital: Port Moresby
Population: 4,500,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Papua New Guinea Map


Location: Southeastern Asia, 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: Oceania

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

Coastline: 5,152 km

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

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

Terrain: 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 : 0.1%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 92.9%
other : 6% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Rim of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides

Environment - current issues: rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects

Environment - international agreements:
party to : Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note: shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast


Population: 5,172,033 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years : 38.6% (male 1,013,936; female 980,841)
15-64 years:57.7% (male 1,544,650; female 1,440,628)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 90,661; female 101,317) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.39% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 31.61 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 7.75 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth : 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 56.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.83 years
male: 61.73 years
female: 66.03 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.21 children born/woman (2002 est.)

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

Ethnic groups: Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian

Religions: Roman Catholic 22%, Lutheran 16%, Presbyterian/Methodist/London Missionary Society 8%, Anglican 5%, Evangelical Alliance 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other Protestant sects 10%, indigenous beliefs 34%

Languages: English spoken by 1%-2%, pidgin English widespread, Motu spoken in Papua region. Hiri Motu, Tok Pisin, English. 4,600,000 (1998 UN), 78% Papuan, 20% Melanesian. 600 islands. Literacy rate 32% to 43%. Also includes Chinese, people from the Philippines, India. The number of languages listed for Papua New Guinea is 832. Of those, 823 are living languages and 9 are extinct.
note: 715 indigenous languages

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population : 64.5%
male: 72%
female:57% (2000)


Country name:
conventional long form : Independent State of Papua New Guinea
conventional short form: Papua New Guinea
abbreviation: PNG

Data code: PP

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Port Moresby

Administrative divisions: 20 provinces; 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

Independence: 16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1975)

Constitution: 16 September 1975

Legal system: based on English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Silas ATOPARE (since 13 November 1997)
head of government : Prime Minister Sir Mekere MORAUTA (since 14 July 1999); Deputy Prime Minister Michael OGIO (since 3 November 2000)
cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections:none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the National Executive Council; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general for up to five years on the basis of majority support in National Parliament

Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament - sometimes referred to as the House of Assembly (109 seats, 89 elected from open electorates and 20 from provincial electorates; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:last held 14-28 June 1997 (next to be held 15 June 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party - PPP 15%, Pangu Pati 14%, NA 14%, PDM 8%, PNC 6%, PAP 5%, UP 3%, NP 1%, PUP 1%, independents 33%; seats by party - PPP 16, Pangu Pati 15, NA 15, PDM 9, PNC 7, PAP 5, UP 3, NP 1, PUP 1, independents 37; note - association with political parties is very 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:Melanesian Alliance Party or MAP [leader NA]; National Alliance or NA [George MANDA, party president]; National Front Party [leader NA]; National Party or NP [Michael MEL]; Papua New Guinea Revival Party [John PUNDARI]; Papua New Guinea United Party or Pangu Pati [Chris HAIVETA]; People's Action Party or PAP [Ted DIRO]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Sir Mekere MORAUTA]; People's Labor Party or PLP [Peter YAMA]; People's National Congress or PNC [Bill SKATE]; People's Progress Party or PPP [Michael NALI]; People's Unity Party or PUP [Alfred KAIABE]; United Party or UP [Rimbiuk PATO]

International organization participation: ACP, APEC, AsDB, C, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Nagora Y. BOGAN
chancery: 3rd floor, 1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 745-3680
FAX : [1] (202) 745-3679

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Susan S. JACOBS
embassy: Douglas Street, Port Moresby
mailing address: P. O. Box 1492, Port Moresby
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


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 oil, copper, and gold, account for 72% of export earnings. The economy has declined over the past two years and will probably continue to falter in 2002. Prime Minister Mekere MORAUTA has tried to restore integrity to state institutions, stabilize the kina, restore stability to the national budget, privatize public enterprises where appropriate, and ensure ongoing peace on Bougainville. The government has had considerable success in attracting international support, specifically gaining the support of the IMF and the World Bank in securing development assistance loans. Significant challenges remain for MORAUTA, however, including gaining further investor confidence, specifically for the proposed Papua New Guinea-Australia oil pipeline, continuing efforts to privatize government assets, and maintaining the support of members of Parliament.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $12.2 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -2.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,400 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 30.4%
industry: 36.8%
services: 32.8% (2000 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 10.3% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 2.3 million (1999)
by occupation: agriculture 85%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $894 million
expenditures: $1.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $344 million (2000 est.)

Industries: copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production; construction, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 252,000 kW (1992)

Electricity - production: 1.65 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 1.535 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: coffee, cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, tea, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables; poultry, pork

total value: $1.8 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: gold, copper ore, oil, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, lobster
partners : Australia 30%, Japan 11%, China 6%, Germany 4%, South Korea 4%, UK 3%, Philippines 1%, US 1% (2000)

total value: $1.024 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals
partners :Australia 50%, Singapore 20%, Japan 4%, NZ 4%, Indonesia 3%, Malaysia 3%, US 2% (2000)

Debt - external: $2.6 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: $400 million (1999 est.)

Currency: 1 kina (PGK) = 100 toea

Exchange rates: kkina per US dollar - 3.706 (January 2002), 3.374 (2001), 2.765 (2000), 2.539 (1999), 2.058 (1998), 1.434 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones:61,152 (1999)

Telephone system: services are adequate and being improved; facilities provide radiotelephone and telegraph, coastal radio, aeronautical radio, and international radio communication services
domestic: mostly radiotelephone
international: submarine cables to Australia and Guam; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean); international radio communication service

Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 19, shortwave 28 (1998)

Radios: 410,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:3 (all in the Port Moresby area) note: additional stations at Mt. Hagen, Goroka, Lae, and Rabaul are planned (2002)

Televisions: 59,841 (1999)


Railways: 0 km

total : 19,600 km
paved: 686 km
unpaved: 18,914 km (1996)

Waterways: 10,940 km

Ports and harbors: Kieta, Lae, Madang, Port Moresby, Rabaul

Merchant marine:
total: 22 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 40,911 GRT/58,723 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 10, chemical tanker 1, combination ore/oil 3, container 1, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 3

Airports: 490 (2001)

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 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 469
1,524 to 2,437 m : 10
914 to 1,523 m: 57
under 914 m: 402 (2001)

Heliports: 2 (2001)


Military branches: Papua New Guinea Defense Force (includes Ground, Naval, and Air Forces, and Special Forces Unit)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,338,003 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 740,085 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $42 million (FY98)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1% (FY98)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none