Papua New Guinea lies within the tropics, just south of the Equator and 160 kilometres north of Australia. The country encompasses the eastern part of New Guinea Island, plus some 600 other islands, atolls and coral reefs. Papua New Guinea has a total area of approximately 462, 840 km2.
Papua New Guinea has a population of approximately 7.1 million people (2011 census). Papua New Guinea is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies. Melanesian Pidgin and Hiri Motu are the two most widely used, but English is the official language used in education, business and government. While Christianity is the predominant religious influence, local traditional beliefs and ceremonies are maintained in remote areas.
Independent since September 16, 1975, Papua New Guinea has a freely elected democratic government. Papua New Guinea became the 142nd member of the United Nations on October, 10, 1975 and is also a member of the British Commonwealth.
Papua New Guinea has a vibrant economy with two distinct systems. The majority of population live in rural areas rather than urban centres and rely heavily on subsistence farming. There is a modern economic system based on primary industries such as mining, petroleum, fishing, forestry and agriculture. Papua New Guinea’s main exports are gold, copper, oil, coffee, tea, copra, oil palm, forestry and marine products.