The World Factbook (1990)/Papua New Guinea

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency
Papua New Guinea

pages 245–246

Papua New Guinea

World Factbook (1990) Papua New Guinea.jpg

See regional map X


Total area: 461,690 km²; land area: 451,710 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than California

Land boundary: 820 km with Indonesia Coastline: 5,152km

Maritime claims: (measured from claimed archipelagic baselines)

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 3 nm

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

Terrain: mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills

Natural resources: gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil potential

Land use: NEGL% arable land; 1% permanent crops; NEGL% meadows and pastures; 71% forest and woodland; 28% other

Environment: one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast; some active volcanos; frequent earthquakes

Note: shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia


Population: 3,822,875 (July 1990), growth rate 2.3% (1990)

Birth rate: 34 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 11 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 68 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 54 years male, 56 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 5.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Papua New Guinean(s); adjective—Papua New Guinean

Ethnic divisions: predominantly Melanesian and Papuan; some Negrito, Micronesian, and Polynesian

Religion: over half of population nominally Christian (490,000 Roman Catholic, 320,000 Lutheran, other Protestant sects); remainder indigenous beliefs

Language: 715 indigenous languages; English spoken by 1-2%, pidgin English widespread, Motu spoken in Papua region

Literacy: 32%

Labor force: 1,660,000; 732,806 in salaried employment; 54% agriculture, 25% government, 9% industry and commerce, 8% services (1980)

Organized labor: more than 50 trade unions, some with fewer than 20 members


Long-form name: Independent State of Papua New Guinea

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Port Moresby

Administrative divisions: 20 provinces; Central, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, East New Britain, East Sepik, Enga, Gulf, Madang, Manus, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital, New Ireland, Northern, North Solomons, Sandaun, Southern Highlands, Western, Western Highlands, West New Britain

Independence: 16 September 1975 (from UN trusteeship under Australian administration)

Constitution: 16 September 1975

Legal system: based on English common law

National holiday: Independence Day, 16 September (1975)

Executive branch: British monarch, governor general, prime minister, deputy prime minister. National Executive Council (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral National Parliament (sometimes referred to as the House of Assembly)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Vincent ERI (since 18 January 1990);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Rabbie NAMALIU (since 4 July 1988); Deputy Prime Minister Akoko DOI (since 7 July 1988)

Political parties: Pangu Party, People's Progress Party, United Party, Papua Besena, National Party, Melanesian Alliance

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: National Parliament—last held 13 June-4 July 1987 (next to be held 4 July 1992); results—PP 14.7%, PDM 10.8%, PPP 6.1%, MA 5.6%, NP 5.1%, PAP 3.2%, independents 42.9%, others 11.6%; seats—(109 total) PP 26, PDM 17, NP 12, MA 7, PAP 6, PPP 5, independents 22, others 14

Communists: no significant strength


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Margaret TAYLOR; Chancery at Suite 350, 1330 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036; telephone (202) 659-0856; US—Ambassador-designate William FERRAND; Embassy at Armit Street, Port Moresby (mailing address is P. O. Box 1492, Port Moresby); telephone [675] 211-455 or 594, 654

Flag: divided diagonally from upper hoist-side corner; the upper triangle is red with a soaring yellow bird of paradise centered; the lower triangle is black with five white five-pointed stars of the Southern Cross constellation centered


Overview: Papua New Guinea is richly endowed with natural resources, but exploitation has been hampered by the rugged terrain and the high cost of developing an infrastructure. Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for more than half of the population. Mining of numerous deposits, including copper and gold, accounts for about 60% of export earnings. Budgetary support from Australia and development aid under World Bank auspices help sustain the economy.

GDP: $3.26 billion, per capita $890; real growth rate 1.2% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: 5% (1988)

Budget: revenues $962 million; expenditures $998 million, including capital expenditures of $169 million (1988)

Exports: $1.4 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—gold, copper ore, coffee, copra, palm oil, timber, lobster; partners—FRG, Japan, Australia, UK, Spain, US

Imports: $1.2 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—machinery and transport equipment, fuels, food, chemicals, consumer goods; partners—Australia, Singapore, Japan, US, New Zealand, UK

External debt: $2.5 billion (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 397,000 kW capacity; 1,510 million kWh produced, 400 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: copra crushing, oil palm processing, plywood processing, wood chip production, gold, silver, copper, construction, tourism

Agriculture: one-third of GDP; livelihood for 85% of population; fertile soils and favorable climate permits cultivating a wide variety of crops; cash crops—coffee, cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels; other products—tea, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, poultry, pork; net importer of food for urban centers

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $38.8 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $5.8 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $17 million

Currency: kina (plural—kina); 1 kina (K) = 100 toea

Exchange rates: kina (K) per US$1—1.1592 (December 1989), 1.1685 (1989), 1.1538 (1988), 1.1012 (1987), 1.0296 (1986), 1.0000 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 19,200 km total; 640 km paved, 10,960 km gravel, crushed stone, or stabilized-soil surface, 7,600 km unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 10,940 km

Ports: Anewa Bay, Lae, Madang, Port Moresby, Rabaul

Merchant marine: 11 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 18,675 GRT/27,954 DWT; includes 6 cargo, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 combination ore/oil, 2 bulk

Civil air: about 15 major transport aircraft

Airports: 575 total, 455 usable; 19 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 38 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: services are adequate and being improved; facilities provide radiobroadcast, radiotelephone and telegraph, coastal radio, aeronautical radio, and international radiocommunication services; submarine cables extend to Australia and Guam; 51,700 telephones (1985); stations—31 AM, 2 FM, 2 TV (1987); 1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Papua New Guinea Defense Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 952,454; 529,570 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 1.3% of GDP, or $42 million (1989 est.)