FAO in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea at a glance

Papua New Guinea is a resource rich country with a nominal GDP of US$21.6 billion in 2015. Having a land area of 463,000 km2, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 2.4 million km2 and an estimated population of 7.6 million in 2015 Papua New Guinea is the largest and most populated Pacific Island Country. In addition to mineral, oil, and gas deposits, Papua New Guinea enjoys abundant fisheries, forestry, and potential for expanded agriculture and tourism; but despite the country’s abundant natural resources, the Government continues to face major challenges in transforming the nation’s wealth into equitable and sustained improvements in the quality of life and livelihoods for all Papua New Guineans. 

Papua New Guinea failed to meet any of the 2015 MDG targets and the country’s ranking on the UN Human Development Index has fallen from 153 out of 188 countries in 2011 to position 158 in 2015. An estimated 37 percent of the population is living in poverty (defined as living on less than US$2/day) and there remains limited prospects for formal employment with 58 percent of the population unemployed or underemployed and low levels of literacy and numeracy. In fact, the majority of the population continues to depend on subsistence farming and fishing for their livelihoods and food security. With 87 percent of the population located in rural areas, a population growth rate of 3.1 percent and over 50 percent of the population aged below 24 years, sustainably improving the income generating potential of the agriculture (forestry and fisheries) sector will be critical for providing economic opportunities to the growing population’s youthful cohort.