Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to more than seven million people and is rich in gold, oil, gas, copper, silver, timber, and is home to abundant fisheries. Its population is strikingly diverse, speaking over 800 distinct languages.

Economically, despite some recent diversification, PNG’s economy remains dominated by two sectors: the agricultural, forestry and fishing sector, which engages most of the labor force (the majority informally); and the minerals and energy extraction sector which accounts for the majority of export earnings and, from 2015, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

2014 saw the completion of a large Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant which is expected to provide a significant boost to PNG’s overall GDP . Yet while exports from this project will eventually provide revenue to the state, they are unlikely to be felt in the short term. Furthermore, non-mining GDP is forecast to grow by four percent in 2015, supported by a rebound in the construction sector, driven mostly by increased infrastructure expenditure associated with facilities constructed for the 2015 Pacific Games, and the ongoing upgrading of the roads.

To diversify PNG’s asset base and increase employment, investment is needed to strengthen capacity in institutions and in physical infrastructure. Electricity, telecommunications, road and other transport infrastructure continue to be a critical need to enable private sector-led growth.

Translating strong macroeconomic performance and revenues from the extractive industry into strong, tangible improvements to living standards for all Papua New Guineans remains the key challenge for the Government of PNG, yet other challenges are also immense. Improving public financial management, efficiency of public spending and service delivery, raising the performance of the civil service, and improving transparency and accountability in budget management will be crucial in converting resources revenue into inclusive growth and, consequently, a genuine improvement in the livelihood of ordinary Papua New Guineans.

Last Updated: Oct 06, 2015

The World Bank Group has dramatically increased its engagement in PNG in recent years, and is committed to continuing this support long term.

In November 2012, the Bank approved the Country Partnership Strategy for Papua New Guinea. This strategy will guide the Bank’s engagement in the country for the period of 2013 to 2016.

The Strategy aims to ensure women and men, girls and boys benefit equally from Papua New Guinea’s development goals, as well as aiming to further promote prudent management of revenues. The Strategy focuses on three main pillars.

1)  Increased and more gender-equitable access to physical and financial infrastructure by:

•  improving and upgrading key national and provincial roads;

•  increasing coverage of rural areas by mobile networks and broadband;

•  increasing access to credit for small-medium enterprises, the number of women with bank accounts, and access financial institutions in rural areas;

•  updating policies to support increased access to electricity.


2) Improved gender equity in livelihoods projects by:

•   expanding yields of smallholders growing ‘cash crops’ such as coffee, copra, cocoa, improve sustainability and resilience to price and weather volatility, and improve market chain infrastructure

•   providing disadvantaged young people in urban areas with training, apprenticeships and short-term employment to increase their employability, and create job opportunities.

•  encouraging public-private collaboration opportunities to facilitate business and investment, while removing impediments and inefficiencies in regulation and reducing business costs.


3)  Increasing prudent management of revenues and benefits by providing support to:

•   minerals revenue management and extractives industries transparency, strengthening the quality of public expenditure and public finance management, and supporting gender-equitable community development and benefits management.

•    strengthening environmental and social performance standards by extractives companies.

Last Updated: Oct 06, 2015

Poor road conditions mean that for many people in Papua New Guinea, travel by road can be impossible, unsafe or simply far too expensive. Without reliable access to roads, people cannot reach schools, hospitals or markets when they need to. Now in its second phase, the World Bank’s Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project has already restored more than 700 kilometers of national roads,. Forty-six national and provincial bridges have been rehabilitated, maintained and/or replaced and an estimated 1.3 million people (27 percent of the population) have benefitted.

The Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project is the Papua New Guinea’s largest agriculture program. Launched in 2010, the project aims to improve the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa and coffee producers. More than 23,000 smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers have benefited from various activities supported under this project, with the number of farms adopting improved farming practices now estimated at more than 3,600. And with additional funding of US$30 million, the project will be expanded into other areas of Papua New Guinea, increasing its support to women farmers.

In Port Moresby the Urban Youth Employment Project is supporting young people, who make up about 35 percent of the capital’s population, to gain work experience and income through temporary employment. So far more than 700 young people have graduated from on-the-job training and more than 7,300 young people have benefited from the project through training and work experience, with bank accounts established for almost all youth participants to help them to manage their income.

In the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a World Bank project is supporting inclusive development and strengthening women’s participation in development. Through the Inclusive Development in Post-Conflict Bougainville project, training has been delivered to 450 participants, and small grants have been awarded to 41 women’s groups, including at least one project in each of Bougainville’s 13 districts. It is estimated that over 48,000 people have benefitted from completed grant projects, representing nearly 25 percent of the Bougainville population.

The World Bank is also supporting the social and economic empowerment of women in oil, gas, and mining communities throughout PNG. The Social and Economic Empowerment of Women in Mining and Petroleum Areas project aims to improve the livelihoods of the poorest women and their families in 16 selected communities of PNG that are involved in the extractive industries. This work includes women’s business development training, capacity building, empowerment and community-based advocacy. Through the READ project, the World Bank is promoting better teaching and reading skills in elementary and primary education by increasing supply of literacy materials in schools and providing professional trainings to teachers. Five years into the project, 75 percent of schools have received education materials, more than 16,000 classroom libraries have been built and equipped with reading materials and more than 18,000 teachers have received training to enhance their teaching skills.

Last Updated: Oct 06, 2015


Papua New Guinea: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments