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Old 14-09-2002, 05:12 AM
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About Papua New Guinea

Geography

Papua New Guinea is the largest developing country in the South Pacific region. Its 463,000 square kilometres of land area, a sea area of 3.12 million square kilometres and 600 separate islands constitute one of the most diverse repositories of geographic, biological, linguistic and cultural wealth on earth. PNG harbours more than 5% of the world's biodiversity in less than 1% of the world's land area.
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Old 14-09-2002, 05:15 AM
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Population

According to the 2000 Census, between 1980 and 2000 PNG's population grew by an annual average rate of 2.7% to 5.19 million. The Southern Highlands Province, followed by Western New Britain, recorded the highest population growth of 4.2% and 3.8% respectively. Approximately half of PNG's total population is under 19 years old. Most of the population live in rural communities based on the traditional village structure and dependent on subsistence farming supplemented by cash cropping. Only 15-20% of Papua New Guineans live in the main urban areas of Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Mt Hagan and Goroka.
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Old 14-09-2002, 05:16 AM
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Economy

The country has an abundance of natural resources that have the potential to underpin a relatively bright economic future. These include extensive forestry and fishery assets, a significant unrealised potential for formal agricultural production, and substantial reserves of gas, oil, gold and copper. However, despite this potential PNG's economic performance has fallen short of expectations. Economic growth in 1983 prices declined by 1.5% in 2000 and 2.6% in 2001 reflecting declining activity in both mineral and non-mineral sectors. Gross National Income (GNI) is estimated at US$760 in 2000, which is at the lower end of the middle-income group of countries. PNG ranks 134 out of 174 countries in the UNDP's Human Development Index.

Although PNG is classified as a moderately indebted country, its debt burden has risen between 1995 and 2000 with the ratio of total external debt to GNI rising from 56% to 71%. Over the last decade mineral exports increased significantly to 81% of total exports but they are expected to decline substantially in future years. Over the same period agricultural exports, accounting for 13% of total exports, have remained stagnant.

In view of the anticipated decline of mining and petroleum revenues, a major challenge for the PNG Government is to restore economic growth, expand the non-mining sector and ensure economic stability through the continuation of sound economic reforms which recently commenced with the assistance of the multilateral development institutions.
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Old 14-09-2002, 05:17 AM
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Social Indicators

Because of deteriorating economic performance in recent years PNG's population suffered significant declines in living standards. Although the country does not exhibit the widespread abject poverty present in some developing countries, poor health and social indicators show that poverty is nonetheless a real problem. According to the World Bank, between 1996 and 2000 the number of persons living below one U.S dollar per day is estimated to have more than doubled to 1.2 million persons, representing 22% of the population.

While PNG's main social indicators show improvements compared with 1975, they are still well below the averages for lower middle income countries (LMICs). Life expectancy and maternal and child mortality rates indicate that primary health care is still limited in PNG. Infectious diseases claim far too many lives, and there are serious public health risks from endemic diseases such as malaria. In education, the rate of participation in primary schooling is improving, but it remains lower than in many equivalent countries in the region.
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Old 14-09-2002, 05:18 AM
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Basic social and economic indicators
  • Land areaa 452,900 km
  • Sea areab 3,120,000 km2
  • Capital Port Moresby
  • Population (2000)c 5.13 million
  • Population average growth rate (1990-00)c 3.1 per cent a year
  • Urban population (1999)a 17 per cent
  • Total fertility rate (1999)a 4.2 births per woman
  • Life expectancy at birth (1996)d 54.5 years
  • Infant mortality (1999)a 58 per 1000 live births
  • Under five mortality rate (1999)a 77 per 1000 live births
  • Maternal mortality ratio (1980-99)e 370 per 100 000 deliveries
  • Malaria incidence (1997)e 847 cases per 100 000 people
  • Population using improved water sources (2000)a 42 per cent
  • Immunisation against measles (1995-99)a 57 per cent under 12 months
  • Estimated HIV prevalence (2000)f 0.3 per cent of total population
  • Daily supply of calories per person (1997)g 2224
  • Adult literacy rate (1999)e 63.9 per cent of age 15 and above
  • Female adult literacy rate (1997)e 56.0 per cent of age 15 and above
  • Women in government at ministerial levela 0 per cent
  • Gross national income per person (1999)a US$810
  • GDP average growth rate (1965-99)a 3.1 per cent a year
  • GDP average growth rate per person (1965-99)a 0.7 per cent a year

Sources: a World Bank, World Development Indicators 2001, Washington, DC, 2001. b Economic Insights Pty Ltd, Papua New Guinea: Coping with Shocks and Achieving Broad-Based Economic Development, Australian Agency for International Development, Canberra, 1998. c Papua New Guinea 2000 Census (preliminary figures). d 1996 Demographic Health Survey, Papua New Guinea. e United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2001, New York, 2001. f World Health Organisation, National AIDS Council and National Department of Health Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea National Consensus Report on STI, HIV and AIDS Epidemiology: Papua New Guinea 2000. g United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2000, New York, 2000.
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