031_G19_Spotlight_PNG

Global

Spotlight Papua New Guinea Key data Papua New Indonesia Guinea • Madang • Lae • Port Moresby • Daru Australia depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods – this includes the many tribes that exist in mountainous areas and have little to no contact with one another, let alone with the outside world. Per capita, the gross national income works out at $2,010, with life expectancy averaging 61.6 years and around a quarter of children out of school. Corruption is rife, with Transparency International rating PNG as one of the most corrupt countries in the world in 2012 – a by-product of the patronage system of governance, with many politicians doubling as businessmen. Police brutality is commonplace and there are disproportionately high levels of crime and violence, targeting women and refugees in particular. HIV/ AIDS levels are high and many diseases, such as malaria and cholera, endemic. “On all the indicators for the Pacifi c, they have the lowest levels of human development, the highest rates of poverty and infant mortality, and the lowest rates of literacy,” says Glenn Banks, associate professor at Massey University. “How to translate that resource wealth into better human development is something the PNG government and people struggle with.” Banks spent two months in PNG working  Population: 7,167,000 (2012)  Offi cial languages: English, Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu  Literacy: 60.6%  Life expectancy: 62 years  Capital: Port Moresby  Land area: 462,840 km2  GDP: US$15,653,921,367 (2012)  Ethnicity: The people are of mixed (mostly Melanesian) race, with small communities of Polynesians on outlying atolls. There is a declining non-indigenous population with the government, development agencies and mineral sector actors to produce the country’s fi rst UNDP Human Development Report in 15 years – From Nature to People: Translating Resource Wealth into Sustainable Human Development. He points out that the rate of sector development in PNG has been sheer. “Within their lifetime, highland communities have gone from no European contact to having a billion-dollar gold mine and LNG gas projects on their back doorstep. The transformation and rate of change in that society is incredible, and there’s a huge opportunity now to improve the levels of human development across the country.” PNG’s mineral sector is a major contributor to the economy, directly responsible for providing around 80 per cent of exports and a third of government revenue each year. Proven reserves of natural gas, estimated in January 2013 to be www.global global four th quar ter 2014 -br ief ing.org l 31 


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