Papua New Guinea

Country Summary



The eastern half of the island of New Guinea was divided between Germany (north) and the UK (south) in 1885. The latter area was transferred to Australia in 1902, which occupied the northern portion during World War I and continued to administer the combined areas until independence in 1975. Since 2001, Bougainville has experienced autonomy. In a 2019 referendum, almost 98% of voters chose eventual independence.



total: 462,840 sq km
land: 452,860 sq km
water: 9,980 sq km


tropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation

Natural resources

gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries

People and Society


9,819,350 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Melanesian, Papuan, Negrito, Micronesian, Polynesian


Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), some 839 indigenous languages spoken (about 12% of the world's total); many languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers


Protestant 64.3% (Evangelical Lutheran 18.4%, Seventh Day Adventist 12.9%, Pentecostal 10.4%, United Church 10.3%, Evangelical Alliance 5.9%, Anglican 3.2%, Baptist 2.8%, Salvation Army 0.4%), Roman Catholic 26%, other Christian 5.3%, non-Christian 1.4%, unspecified 3.1% (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

2.31% (2023 est.)


Government type

parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm


name: Port Moresby

Executive branch

chief of state: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022); represented by Governor General Grand Chief Sir Bob DADAE (since 28 February 2017)
head of government: Prime Minister James MARAPE (since 30 May 2019); Deputy Prime Minister John ROSSO (since 25 May 2022)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Parliament (118 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies - 89 local, 20 provincial, the autonomous province of Bouganville, and the National Capital District - by majority preferential vote; members serve 5-year terms); note - the constitution allows up to 126 seats


Economic overview

lower middle-income Pacific island economy; primarily informal agrarian sector; natural resource-rich; key liquified natural gas exporter; growing young workforce; slow post-pandemic recovery; increasingly impoverished citizenry; sustainable inflation

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$36.589 billion (2021 est.)
$36.479 billion (2020 est.)
$37.672 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$3,700 (2021 est.)
$3,700 (2020 est.)
$3,900 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

oil palm fruit, bananas, coconuts, fruit, sweet potatoes, game meat, yams, roots/tubers nes, vegetables, taro


oil and gas; mining (gold, copper, and nickel); palm oil processing; plywood and wood chip production; copra crushing; construction; tourism; fishing; livestock (pork, poultry, cattle) and dairy farming; spice products (turmeric, vanilla, ginger, cardamom, chili, pepper, citronella, and nutmeg)


0.01% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.01% of GDP (2019 est.)
0.02% of GDP (2018 est.)


$11 billion (2021 est.)
$9.36 billion (2020 est.)
$11 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

Japan 25%, China 25%, Australia 16%, Taiwan 6%, South Korea 6% (2021)

Exports - commodities

natural gas, gold, copper, palm oil, nickel, crude petroleum, lumber, refined petroleum, tuna, coffee (2021)


$4.25 billion (2021 est.)
$3.77 billion (2020 est.)
$4.14 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

Australia 27%, China 25%, Singapore 13%, Malaysia 8%, Indonesia 5% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, rice, delivery trucks, excavation machinery, motor vehicle parts (2021)

Exchange rates

kina (PGK) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
3.509 (2021 est.)
3.46 (2020 est.)
3.388 (2019 est.)
3.293 (2018 est.)
3.189 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2023