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Greater Investment in Education Key to Driving Stronger Economic Growth, Economic Diversification

PNG Economic Update May 2024

Papua New Guinea’s Growth to Accelerate in 2024 after Slowdown Last Year, World Bank Report Says


PORT MORESBY, May 2, 2024 – Papua New Guinea’s economy is forecast to accelerate in 2024 after a slowdown last year, yet greater investment in education is critical to the country’s longer-term economic future, a World Bank report released on Thursday says.

Economic growth in Papua New Guinea is forecast to rise to 4.8% this year from 2.7% in 2023 after the reopening of the Porgera gold mine, but growth is expected to remain below its pre-pandemic trajectory, according to the World Bank’s Papua New Guinea Economic Update: Invest in Your Children report.

Papua New Guinea’s economy is gradually recovering from the impacts of the pandemic and economic growth is expected to accelerate in 2024 due to the resumption of the Porgera gold mine, although growth could have been higher if not for the riots and looting in January and fuel supply disruptions,” said World Bank Senior Economist for Papua New Guinea, Ruslan Piontkivsky. “Meanwhile, macroeconomic policies have improved with the government carrying out fiscal consolidation plans to reduce risks of debt distress and the Bank of PNG allowing more exchange rate flexibility. This should continue so the results are seen,” he added.

While the economy is recovering, the analysis underscores that the benefits of growth in Papua New Guinea over the last decade have not been shared by all, and the poorest in Papua New Guinea have not seen significant welfare improvements.

A greater focus on Papua New Guinea’s human capital – the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate through their life is urgently needed for more sustainable and lasting growth, a Special Focus section on education says.  

Challenges facing Papua New Guinea in education are stark: an estimated 72% of ten-year-olds not being able to read and understand age-appropriate texts. These early impacts have serious longer-term effects, with only 18% of 20- to 24-year-olds having completed secondary or some tertiary education. This represents a serious foregone opportunity.

“Papua New Guinea’s most important asset is its people – and improved teaching quality and education investment could turn Papua New Guinea’s young population into an engine of growth,” said World Bank Lead Economist for Education in the Pacific Lars M. Sondergaard. “Urgent change is needed to make sure Papua New Guinea’s education system gives young people the best chance at building a strong future and contributing to their country.”

To improve learning and foundational skills, an urgent focus on early education and investments in primary and maternal healthcare and nutrition to address childhood stunting are needed. Increasing the quantity and quality of the teaching workforce, investing in better teaching and learning materials, and upgrading education legislation, policy, and practices will be essential in enhancing outcomes in the education sector.


Port Moresby
Ruth Moiam
+1 (202) 247-0946
Hamish Wyatt
+61 450 517 534
Washington D.C.
Masud Mozammel


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