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  • 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 islands of New Britain, New Ireland, and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, and another 600 smaller islands and atolls.

    PNG’s population is young and growing. PNG’s growth trajectory and abundant resource potential provides a strong platform for greater economic engagement with Asia and further abroad.

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

    • the agricultural, forestry, and fishing sectors that engage 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 asset base and increase employment, investment is needed to strengthen capacity in institutions, human capital, and physical infrastructure. Electricity, telecommunications, road and other transport infrastructure remain critical to supporting private sector-led growth.

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

    There are limited formal job opportunities for the growing employment age population and other risks include environmental management, population growth, political fragmentation, inequalities in PNG’s resource dominated economy, and social exclusion of some groups.

    In January 2020 – prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic’s impact – the World Bank forecast that real GDP growth in PNG was projected to hover around 3% on average in 2020­-2022, with downside risks – including unexpected external shocks or potential domestic political and economic turbulence – prevailing. PNG’s revenues continue to face challenges arising from lower global commodity prices. Sound macroeconomic management and more efficient service delivery is critical to ensure development benefits reach a greater number of Papua New Guineans, particularly given 87% of Papua New Guineans live in rural areas.

    With such a highly dispersed and remote population of over 8 million people the consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak in PNG 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 in 2020.

    Last Updated: Apr 30, 2020

  • 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 global 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 strengthening 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. Improvements in testing and training financed through the COVID-19 Emergency Project will also make a lasting contribution to addressing other infectious diseases like TB.

    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:

    • to 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.

    Strengthening governance in both the natural resources sector and across management of public resources underpins the World Bank’s strategy in PNG. The strategy aims to ensure everyone, regardless of their gender, where they live, or their social and economic circumstances, will benefit equally from the World Bank’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 if they had 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 30, 2020

  • COVID-19 is unquestionably a significant threat to public health in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with the World Bank responding with US$20m in emergency response funding for Personal Protective Equipment for health workers, critical supplies and facilities for testing, as well as funding for extensive public education activities.

    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. 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 PNG, including the National Capital District (Port Moresby).

    The Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project (PPAP) is PNG’s largest agriculture program. Launched in 2010, the project has improved the livelihoods of 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 includes a strong focus on increasing support to women farmers. 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 aim of commencing the new US$40 million project in mid-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 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 project will soon expand to PNG’s second-largest city of 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. Now in its second phase, the World Bank’s Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project has already restored more than 160 kilometers of roads across PNG. More than 50 national and provincial bridges have also been rehabilitated, maintained and/or replaced and an estimated 1.3 million people (27% of the population) have benefitted from this support.

    Last Updated: Apr 30, 2020


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.

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

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Port Moresby, +675-321-7111
Deloitte Tower, Level 13, Port Moresby NCD
Washington, +1 202-473-4709
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433