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Overview

  •  Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a remarkable diversity of geographic and natural resources. The country occupies the eastern half of the West Pacific island of New Guinea, together with the main islands of New Britain, New Ireland, and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, as well as another 600 smaller islands and atolls.  

    PNG’s population of eight million people is young and growing. PNG’s growth trajectory and abundant resource potential provides a strong platform for greater economic engagement with Asia and beyond.  

    The country’s economy remains dominated by two broad sectors: 

    • the agricultural, forestry, and fishing sector that engages most of PNG’s labor force (the majority informally); and 
    • the minerals and energy extraction sector that accounts for the majority of export earnings and GDP. 

     To diversify PNG’s sources of revenue and increase employment, investment is needed to strengthen capacity in institutions, human capital, and physical infrastructure like electricity, telecommunications, road and other transport infrastructure that remain critical to supporting private sector-led growth. 

    PNG has complex cultural dynamics deeply rooted in tribal and ethnic identity, traditional social institutions, and relationships to the land. These contribute both to the country’s unique challenges as well as its considerable resilience. 

    There are limited formal job opportunities for the growing, relatively young population, and other risks include environmental management, urbanization, political fragmentation, social exclusion, and inequalities in PNG’s resource dominated economy.  
      
    As a result of pandemic-related restrictions and weaker demand, it is estimated that PNG’s real GDP contracted by 3.8 percent in 2020. In March 2021, the World Bank forecasted that economic growth is expected to rebound to about 3.5 percent in 2021–22, but the economy will be nine percent smaller in 2023 compared to the World Bank’s pre-pandemic forecast.

    With such a highly dispersed and remote population with 87% of Papua New Guineans living in rural areas,  a significant COVID-19 outbreak in PNG (ongoing as of March 2021) has the potential to be devastating. The future resilience and economic growth of the country will depend on how its health system responds to the pandemic.

    The World Bank continues to support the Government of PNG  to strengthen macroeconomic management and improve service delivery to ensure development benefits reach Papua New Guineans, particularly  the predominant proportion living in rural areas. 

    Last Updated: Apr 07, 2021

  • The World Bank Group continues to grow its presence across Papua New Guinea (PNG) and is committed to responding swiftly to the country’s most pressing issues. In April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank approved an emergency US$20 million (approximately PGK70m) project for PNG focused on protecting health workers and others in the response effort, helping PNG health authorities quickly scale-up testing capacity, and strengthen public education to combat the spread of the virus. 

    The commitment is part of a wider package of World Bank support to tackle a number of PNG’s most pressing health challenges. The US$15 million Emergency Tuberculosis (TB) Project is now in its third year, and in April 2020, the US$30 million IMPACT Health project was announced with the aim of strengthening the quality of health services, particularly in  clinics and hospitals in rural areas. The project will initially be piloted in two PNG provinces – Enga and East New Britain – with the plan to expand to other provinces in coming years.

     Long-term support to PNG was outlined in May 2019 when the World Bank and PNG Government agreed on the 2019-2022 Country Partnership Framework for Papua New Guinea. The five-year strategy is aligned with the country’s development plans, and lays out three main focus areas for work by the World Bank Group in PNG: 

    • improve the country’s macro and fiscal resilience; 

    • ensure more effective and inclusive services, particularly in remote and underserved areas; and 

    • diversify the economy and create jobs, including through the non-resources sector.  

    The strategy in Papua New Guinea is underpinned by aims to strengthen governance in the natural resources sector and across management of public resources, and aims to ensure everyone – regardless of their gender, where they live, or their social and economic circumstances – can benefit equally from the World Bank Group’s work to support PNG’s development goals. 

    In 2018, the World Bank launched the Human Capital Project, an ambitious global initiative to accelerate investments in people around the world – work that is critically important in PNG. The Human Capital Index shows that, on average, a child born today in PNG will be only 38% as productive when he or she grows up as they would have been with access to optimal health and education services. Based on these results, PNG was one of the first countries worldwide to commit to the Human Capital Project.  

    The World Bank is also strengthening its analysis of PNG’s economic challenges and prospects, with the publication of twice-yearly PNG Economic Update reports. 

    Last Updated: Apr 07, 2021

  • A significant rise in cases of  COVID-19 in early 2021 has underscored the significance of the threat to public health that the pandemic poses to Papua New Guinea (PNG). The World Bank with US$20m emergency response funding has helped deliver 600,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers, critical supplies and facilities for testing, as well as funding for extensive public education activities, all across the country.

    The threat posed by COVID-19 is further compounded by PNG’s high rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), which remains a significant health threat in a number of PNG’s provinces. Daru, a small island in Western Province, is a global hot spot for multi-drug-resistant TB. The World Bank has contributed US$15 million to the multi-partner Emergency Tuberculosis Project to help kick TB out of PNG with improved screening, diagnosis and treatment programs. Patient treatment drop-out rates have now reduced from 30% to zero on Daru Island, one of the world’s most significant hotspots for multi-drug resistant TB. Since first hitting the road in late 2017, the project’s mobile X-ray screening van has already screened more than 6,500 people – nearly half of the entire population of Daru – with the project now expanding to other parts of the country, including the National Capital District (Port Moresby). 

    The recently-closed Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project (PPAP) was PNG’s largest agriculture program. Launched in 2010, the project supported more than 67,000 smallholder cocoa and coffee producers across PNG, with more than three million cocoa trees and more than seven million coffee trees replanted or rehabilitated as part of the project. The project also included a strong focus on increasing support to women farmers, and has supported 24,000 women to earn an income, save money and strengthen their roles in coffee and cocoa growing industries. The World Bank is now supporting the PNG Government to build on the successes of this project to also include coconut, spices and small livestock, with the new, five-year, US$40 million PNG Agriculture Commercialization and Diversification Project, which was approved in April 2020.  

    In the capital, Port Moresby, the Urban Youth Employment Project has provided thousands of young Papua New Guineans with life skills and short-term employment opportunities. Jointly funded by the Australian Government (DFAT) and the Government of Papua New Guinea, with support from the Republic of Korea and the private sector, the project has helped 18,500 long-term unemployed young Papua New Guineans – 40% of whom are women – undertake vocational training and fully-subsidized work placements. In doing so, it created 18,000 new bank accounts and over 815,000 days of work, with 85% of community members in project locations reporting that crime and violence had reduced. The US$35 million second phase of the project began in April 2020 and will support 6,700 young people in Port Moresby and country’s second largest city, Lae.  

    Poor road conditions mean that for many people in PNG, 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. The World Bank-supported Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project has helped restore more than 160 kilometers of roads across PNG. More than 50 national and provincial bridges have also been rehabilitated, maintained and/or replaced as part of this project, with an estimated 1.3 million people (27% of PNG’s population) benefitting from this support.

    Last Updated: Apr 07, 2021


LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments



In Depth

Video: In the Pacific, What is Possible?

Watch this video to see a realistic and promising picture of what is achievable in the Pacific by the year 2040.

Brochure: Our work in PNG and the Pacific Islands

Take a closer look at where our projects are located in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific

Open Finance Data

Have you wondered what the World Bank does with its money? Explore open data about World Bank's financing in Papua New Guinea.

Open Data

The World Bank provides free and open access to a comprehensive set of data about development in countries around the globe, including Papua New Guinea.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Port Moresby
World Bank Group Office
Suite 1, Level 3, PWC Haus, Allotment 34, Section 44 Granville
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
+679 322-8900
pacificmedia@worldbank.org
Washington
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433
+1 202-473-4709
eapnews@worldbank.org