Inflation continues to rise, however monetary policies have been able to slow inflation to an annualised rate of about 8.4%.
A group led by a major American oil company is building a facility that produces liquefied natural gas (LNG), which could begin exporting in 2014 and as the largest investment project in the countries history, has the potential to double GDP in the near future and triple Papua New Guinea’s export revenue.
In Australia, economic development is measured by GDP. However for many low-income countries such as Papua New Guinea this is an inaccurate measure due to a number of reasons. Many people are subsistent (consume what they produce and there never reaches the market), there is a lot of inequality in income and wealth which means that an average figure for GDP per person is inaccurate. Finally GDP makes no mention of non-material measure such as health, equality, freedom and education, which are all of very low standard in these countries. This all needs to be considered when looking at the GDP of Papua New Guinea. As a result the human development index (HDI) can assist with measuring development. The HDI of Papua New Guinea was 0.431 in 2010. Non-material living standards are also quite low. The country faces a large problem with HIV/AIDS, with the prevalence rate being 0.95 in 2008.
In order to address these problems, the UN came up with 8 goals that they aimed to have achieved by 2015. The second goal is universal primary education. Education has gradually improved since the 1980s and 90’s, but is still very low. This applies in particular to adults over the age of 15. There are extreme differences in the level of enrolment between developing areas and more developed areas. New reforms require new schools to be built and teachers to be trained to decrease the significant gap between the education performance between people living in different regions. This also applies to education for girls who are kept at home, especially in highland regions. The current status is that the government considers the global target of achieving close to 100% of enrolment and retention by 2015 as unrealistic, which more accurately will be around 70-85%. Reasons for not being able to meet this target are due to HIV/AIDS and some other challenges.
Another goal of Papua New Guinea is gender equality and empowerment of women. Gender inequality in Papua New Guinea is significant in some areas. There clearly is a significant gender gap in education and literacy, but recent evidence suggests that young females are catching up with males. However this is because of a decrease in male literacy levels. The action that Papua New Guinea is taking, is signing a number of international conventions that support gender equity and empowerment of women, for example the Convention on the Elimination with All Forms of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW). These international conventions have been translated into national policies, strategies and laws. However, there is great difficulty in the implementation of the policies and strategies, and they are very expensive. Cultural factors also prolong the achievement of gender equality.