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Country Reports

Papua New Guinea Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Prime Minister James Marape assumed office on 30 May following a string of government defections that led to former prime minister Peter O'Neill's resignation. Although Marape has said he intends to review resource extraction laws, he has indicated that his government will respect existing contracts and will pursue legislative reform gradually. Marape served as O’Neill’s Finance Minister since 2012, and his ascension to the leadership is unlikely to change PNG’s pro-resource sector outlook. Nevertheless, Marape’s leadership will likely remain fragile over the next three months as he seeks to consolidate his position.Corruption is a serious problem at all levels, as public institutions are weak and unresolved land tenure issues strain judicial capacity. Security risks are high due to inter-tribal conflict in rural areas, criminal groups engaged in armed robbery and landowner-government disputes surrounding resource projects. The capital Port Moresby is the most dangerous city, but urban areas are generally prone to opportunistic, low-level criminality, especially robbery with small-arms or machetes. Mines and commercial property related to the extractive industries face high risks of property damage from unrest over unpaid royalties to local landowners, particularly in the Southern Highlands, Hela, and Western Province. Protests are likely to occur at least a dozen times each year, and large groups of protesters can cause significant damage to property, particularly through arson attacks. Commercial equipment and construction sites are particularly at risk.Papua New Guinea's economy remains heavily reliant on commodities exports especially after the completion of the country's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in 2014. An agreement has been reached regarding a second major LNG project that will boost economic activity in the country significantly, starting as early as 2020. The government is expected to work hard to ensure more significant returns from the second LNG project, as the financial benefits of the first project have not been realised.
Last update: July 27, 2019

Operational Outlook

PNG is a challenging operating environment. Weak institutional capacity, inadequate skilled labour, limited infrastructure, and tribal violence are key barriers to business operations. These problems are unlikely to be resolved within the next three years, particularly while government spending remains low. Road infrastructure is poor, and high rates of crime inhibit operations, with businesses often requiring additional security measures. Small-scale strikes occur occasionally but have limited impact, while large strike actions are rare, likely only occurring once or twice a year. Corruption is a key concern, as senior officials are often arrested on corruption charges, and there is a severe lack of transparency in government decision-making.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

Terrorist attacks are highly unlikely, as there are no domestic anti-government or ideologically extremist armed groups in PNG. Armed groups or individuals are unlikely to select PNG to carry out attacks, as there are very few foreign tourists or businesses. Members of armed separatist groups seeking independence for Indonesia's West Papua province occasionally seek temporary refuge on the PNG side of the border, but the likelihood of PNG being used as a base of operations for foreign terrorist groups is low.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

Crime levels in Port Moresby and nationwide are very high. The 2018 US State Department Crime and Safety Report notes that PNG has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Western visitors face risks of violent crime due to a perceived image of wealth. The main centre of criminal activity is Port Moresby, although other urban centres are also subject to lawlessness, which can often be violent. Law and order is loosely enforced in rural areas, and law enforcement agencies often struggle to control tribal groups. The security forces are at times complicit in criminal activities and action to combat crime is often ineffective.

Last update: June 14, 2019

War Risks

Interstate conflict is very unlikely, but low-level fighting between Indonesian military units and West Papuan insurgents occurs occasionally on the border. Fighting between different tribes in the Highlands region is a regular occurrence, but there is little prospect of these incidents escalating into a broader conflict. An outbreak of civil war is unlikely, although the 2019 Bougainville independence referendum will probably lead to skirmishes between local groups and security forces. Additionally, civil unrest is likely to heighten during PNG national elections: the 2017 election season was plagued by localised violence.

Last update: June 13, 2019

Social Stability

High

Resource projects face high risk of disruption by locals demanding compensation for land use. Violent unrest is likely in the Highlands region, where illegal small-arms are easily available. Disruption to projects caused by unrest is usually limited to several days, but protesters are likely to break into sites and damage property. Strikes in Port Moresby are rare but have the potential to cause city-wide disruption. Protest risks are rising due to frequent punitive police actions, which increase the risk of retaliatory rioting and property damage.

Last update: June 13, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Papua New Guinea has a hot and humid climate, tempered by trade winds. It rains almost all year long with a respite from June to September (the dry season) and a peak of precipitation between December and March. Temperatures tend to be cooler in the mountains.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 675
Police: 000
Fire Dept.: 000
Ambulance: 000

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019