Oceania: Papua New Guinea

About Papua New Guinea

The eastern half of the island of New Guinea - second largest in the world - 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. A nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville ended in 1997, after claiming some 20,000 lives.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Port Moresby
Population: 5,049,055 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 37%
Language: English spoken by 1%-2%, pidgin English widespread, Motu spoken in Papua region, 715 indigenous languages
Date of independence: 16 September 1975 (from the Austral
Form of government: constitutional monarchy with parlia
Title of Leader: Queen, represented by Governor Gene
Natural Resources: gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries
Environmental Issues: rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
Agricultural Products: coffee, cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, tea, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables; poultry, pork
Imports: machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, fuels, chemicals
Exports: oil, gold, copper ore, logs, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish, prawns
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Australia 53%, Singapore 13%, Japan 6%, US 4%, New Zealand 4%, Malaysia 4% (1999)
EXPORTS: Australia 30%, Japan 12%, Germany 7%, South Korea 4%, Philippines 3%, UK 3% (1999)


Papua New Guinea Headlines


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