Wealth and poverty
About 85% of the country’s population relies on subsistence farming. Foreign investors control the minerals, timber and fish sectors. Manufacturing is limited, which means high unemployment in the towns, and nearly two-fifths of the population live in poverty. Declining prices have reduced export income and increased debt. About 40% of the population live below the poverty line (less than US$1 a day). Papua New Guinea ranks 137 out of 195 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index and 95 out of 149 on the Global Peace Index.
Education and work
Recent education reforms have dramatically increased the number of children enrolled in school; but the adult literacy rate is 68% (male: 64% and female: 57%). Papua New Guinean adults have had an average of 4.3 years of school and today’s children spend about five years at school.
Industries and products
Agricultural products include coffee, cocoa, copra, palm kernels, tea, sugar, rubber, sweet potatoes, fruit, vegetables, vanilla, shellfish, poultry and pork. Industries include copra (coconut) crushing, palm oil processing, woodchip and plywood production; gold, silver and copper mining; crude oil production; petroleum refining; construction; and tourism.
Papua New Guinea’s main export partners are Australia (28%) and Japan (9.5%) and exports include oil, gold, copper, timber, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, crayfish and prawns. Papua New Guinea imports manufactured goods, food, fuels and chemicals from Australia (43.1%), Singapore (15.8%), China (10.2%), and Japan (5.8%).