Papua New Guinea

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON DECEMBER 6, 2011
Flag of Papua New Guinea
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Location of Papua New Guinea
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Introduction

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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.
 
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Geography

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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
 
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6 00 S, 147 00 E
 
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total: 462,840 sq km
country comparison to the world: 55
land: 452,860 sq km
water: 9,980 sq km
 
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slightly larger than California
 
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total: 820 km
border countries: Indonesia 820 km
 
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5,152 km
 
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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
 
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tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation
 
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mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m
 
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gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries
 
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arable land: 0.49%
permanent crops: 1.4%
other: 98.11% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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801 cu km (1987)
 
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total: 0.1 cu km/yr (56%/43%/1%)
per capita: 17 cu m/yr (1987)
 
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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), 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) 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
 
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rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
 
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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
 
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shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast
 
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People and Society

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noun: Papua New Guinean(s)
adjective: Papua New Guinean
 
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Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian
 
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Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), 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%
 
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Roman Catholic 27%, Protestant 69.4% (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%), Baha'i 0.3%, indigenous beliefs and other 3.3% (2000 census)
 
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6,187,591 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
 
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0-14 years: 36.4% (male 1,145,946/female 1,106,705)
15-64 years: 60% (male 1,907,787/female 1,802,144)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 121,207/female 103,802) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 21.8 years
male: 22.1 years
female: 21.5 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.985% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
 
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26.44 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
 
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6.58 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
 
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urban population: 13% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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PORT MORESBY (capital) 314,000 (2009)
 
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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 (2011 est.)
 
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250 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 52
 
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total: 43.29 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 57
male: 47.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 39.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 66.24 years
country comparison to the world: 163
male: 64.02 years
female: 68.56 years (2011 est.)
 
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3.46 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
 
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3.1% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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0.053 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 174
 
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improved:
urban: 87% of population
rural: 33% of population
total: 40% of population
unimproved:
urban: 13% of population
rural: 67% of population
total: 60% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 71% of population
rural: 41% of population
total: 45% of population
unimproved:
urban: 29% of population
rural: 59% of population
total: 55% of population (2008)
 
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0.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
 
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34,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
 
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1,300 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
 
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2009)
 
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18.1% (2005)
country comparison to the world: 40
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57.3%
male: 63.4%
female: 50.9% (2000 census)
 
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NA
 
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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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Government

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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
 
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constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
 
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name: Port Moresby
geographic coordinates: 9 30 S, 147 10 E
time difference: UTC+10 (15 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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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
 
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16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)
 
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Independence Day, 16 September (1975)
 
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16 September 1975
 
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mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Michael OGIO (since 25 February 2011)
head of government: Prime Minister Peter Paire O'NEILL (since 2 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister Belden NAMAH (since 9 August 2011)
cabinet: National Executive Council appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
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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
 
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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
 
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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)
 
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National Alliance Party or NA [Don POLYE]; Papua and Niugini Union Party or PANGU PATI [Andrew KUMBAKOR]; Papua New Guinea Party or PNGP [Beldan NEMAH]; People's Action Party or PAP [Gabriel KAPRIS]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM; United Resources Party or URP [William DUMA]
note: as of December 2011, 33 political parties are registered
 
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Ahora [Andrew MAMOKO] (represents local tribes); Centre for Environment Law and Community Rights or Celcor [Damien ASE]; Community Coalition Against Corruption
 
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ACP, ADB, AOSIS, APEC, ARF, ASEAN (observer), C, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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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
 
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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
 
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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
 
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bird of paradise
 
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name: "O Arise All You Sons"
lyrics/music: Thomas SHACKLADY
note: adopted 1975
 
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Economy

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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. 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 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. An American-owned firm also opened PNG's first oil refinery in 2004 and is building a second LNG production facility. 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. In recent years, the government has opened up markets in telecommunications and air transport, making both more affordable to the people. 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 second 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 foreign demand for PNG's commodities.
 
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$14.95 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
$13.97 billion (2009 est.)
$13.24 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$9.668 billion (2010 est.)
 
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7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
5.5% (2009 est.)
6.6% (2008 est.)
 
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$2,500 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
$2,400 (2009 est.)
$2,300 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 31.9%
industry: 35.5%
services: 32.6% (2010 est.)
 
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3.809 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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agriculture: 85%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (2005 est.)
 
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1.8% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 11
 
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37% (2002 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 40.5% (1996)
 
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50.9 (1996)
country comparison to the world: 20
 
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17.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
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revenues: $3.045 billion
expenditures: $2.976 billion (2010 est.)
 
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31.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
 
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0.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
 
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25.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
32.8% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
6.9% (2009 est.)
 
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14% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
6.92% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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10.45% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
10.09% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$2.893 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$2.306 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$4.933 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
$4.374 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$2.647 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
$2.466 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 75
$6.632 billion
$6.632 billion (31 December 2006)
 
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coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla; shell fish; poultry, pork
 
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copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, wood chip production; mining of gold, silver, and copper; crude oil production, petroleum refining; construction, tourism
 
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10% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
 
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2.965 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
 
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2.757 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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30,570 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
 
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33,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
 
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8,029 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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14,770 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
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88 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
 
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130 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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130 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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226.5 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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-$648.4 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
-$671.7 million (2009 est.)
 
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$5.746 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
$4.392 billion (2009 est.)
 
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oil, gold, copper ore, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish, prawns
 
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Australia 27.9%, Japan 9.1%, China 7.1% (2010)
 
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$3.529 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$2.871 billion (2009 est.)
 
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machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals
 
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Australia 42.1%, Singapore 13.1%, China 7.9%, Japan 6.6%, US 4.3% (2010)
 
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$3.092 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
$2.607 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.622 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$1.543 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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$NA
 
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kina (PGK) per US dollar -
2.7517 (2010)
2.7551 (2009)
2.6956 (2008)
3.03 (2007)
3.0643 (2006)
 
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Communications

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121,200 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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1.909 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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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)
 
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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)
 
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.pg
 
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4,285 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 139
 
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125,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 152
 
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Transportation

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562 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 12
 
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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)
 
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total: 541
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 63
under 914 m: 469 (2010)
 
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2 (2010)
 
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oil 195 km (2010)
 
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total: 9,349 km
country comparison to the world: 136
paved: 3,000 km
unpaved: 6,349 km (2011)
 
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11,000 km (2011)
country comparison to the world: 11
 
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total: 28
country comparison to the world: 87
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 24, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 7 (Malaysia 1, UAE 6) (2010)
 
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Kimbe, Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Wewak
 
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Military

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Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF; includes Maritime Operations Element, Air Operations Element) (2009)
 
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16 years of age for voluntary military service (with parental consent); no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,568,210
females age 16-49: 1,478,965 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,130,951
females age 16-49: 1,137,753 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 67,781
female: 65,820 (2010 est.)
 
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1.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
 
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Transnational Issues

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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
 
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refugees (country of origin): 10,177 (Indonesia) (2007)
 
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current situation: Papua New Guinea is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude; trafficked men are forced to labor in logging and mining camps; migrant women and teenage girls from Malaysia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines are subjected to sex trafficking; men from China are transported to the country for forced labor
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; despite the government's acknowledgement of trafficking as a problem in the country, the government did not investigate any suspected trafficking offenses, prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders under existing laws, address allegations of officials complicit in human trafficking crimes, or identify or assist any trafficking victims (2011)
 
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major consumer of cannabis
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