Strong economic growth and exploitative large-scale extractive industries
do not lead to a better quality of life for people in Papua New Guinea.
This is shown by the latest Human Development Index which places PNG 153rd
out of 187 countries in the world.
Countries like Palau and Tonga which have not suffered from exploitative
large-scale logging, mining and land grabbing rank much higher at 49th and
90th respectively and are rated as high human development countries.
In the medium development category are Samoa (99), Fiji (100), FSM (116),
Kiribati (122) and Vanuatu (125).
PNG and the Solomon Islands(142) are the only Pacific countries ranked in
the lowest human development category.
Papua New Guinea has had six-years of stellar economic growth but this has
only served to benefit a small-elite and the foreign owners of PNG’s
logging, mining and oil and gas companies.
It is time for us to reject the failed unrestrained capitalism that is
being forced on us by our former colonial masters and return instead to the
National Goals in our Constitution to guide our futures.
*PNG ranks poorly in HDI survey***
*RESOURCES-rich Papua New Guinea has been ranked 153 out of 187 countries
surveyed on the Human Development Index, falling below most of its smaller
South Pacific island neighbours.
This ranking places PNG in the last of four rankings from very high human
development to low human development.
Of the nine Pacific nations included in the survey, Melanesian neighbour
the Solomon Islands shares this category but is 11 places higher at 142.
Tiny Palau, which was included in the ranking only this year, and Tonga
ranked 49 and 90 respectively. They are the only island nations that are
part of the high human development ranked countries.
Australia is second and New Zealand is fifth on the ranking.
The 2011 report, themed Sustainability and equity: A better future for all,
argues that environmental sustainability could be most fairly and
effectively achieved by addressing health, education, income and gender
disparities together with the need for global action on energy production
and ecosystem protection.
The HDI is a yardstick that focuses on the human elements of development,
combining indicators of health and education with the more traditional
It normally gives important insights that can be used to identify key
It said in PNG’s case, despite strident economic growth in the past six
years, the area of human development had largely been ignored.
Pacific Island countries have varied levels of human development.
Most of the Pacific Island countries appear in the “medium human
These include by rank Samoa (99), Fiji (100), FSM (116), Kiribati (122) and
Three countries in the Pacific have higher than average life expectancy
than other small island development states.
These are Palau 64, Tonga 63 and Fiji 62 years respectively.*