Peter Ilau was appointed Ambassador of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the Republic of Indonesia in March 2011.
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After over 25 years of political independence, Papua New Guinea (PNG) continues to receive a high volume of foreign aid for her socioeconomic development. The purposes and worth of that spending remain issues of debate by observers. The debate is intensified by a rather disappointing socioeconomic development record since 1975 and has led donors to call for its elimination or wholesale reform. But is aid to blame for the disappointing record? How effective has foreign aid been in PNG? What would be the future of foreign aid in PNG after 25 years of experiences? Could it be improved or should it be done away with?

This chapter attempts to shed light on some of these profound questions and especially with regard to the question on ‘the future of foreign aid in PNG’. It begins by examining the nature and flow of foreign aid so as to establish the context for analysing the future of foreign aid in PNG. It then attempts a cursory evaluation of the successes and failures of aid in the country over the last 25 years and draws some conclusive recommendations on its future in PNG. The article is an mere overview of this multifacet subject,  complicated by limited reliable data. Hence, it is based largely on the experiences of the author on the subject.


Official Development Assistance (ODA), commonly known as development assistance/cooperation or foreign aid is provided by member countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Foreign aid is provided for various reasons  including that of the donor county's strategic, economic, political and ideological priorities and historical or cultural links. For aid receiving countries like PNG, aid is an important source of capital to complement the shortages of domestic resources necessary for social and economic development. It has at times been a determining factor in their development processes.

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Life expectancy in PNG is 57 years. The leading causes of death are malaria, pneumonia, peri-natal deaths, tuberculosis, meningitis, heart disease, cancer, accidents and violence. PNG also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in East Asia with more than 2,600 deaths every year. Health care remains basic and many of these deaths could be prevented with more medicinal care and advice.
HIV/AIDS has become one of the leading causes of death in Port Moresby and elsewhere in the country. PNG currently has the highest HIV/Aids infection rate in Eat Asia. More than two percent of the population is believed to be infected and urgent steps are being taken to try to prevent the spread. But PNG is likely to become a major HIV/AIDS epicentre within ten years.

International relations
PNG's relations with its neighbours
Australia is PNG's most engaged partner. Along with considerable economic aid and technical assistance, including in areas of good governance, Australia also provides assistance to the PNG Defence Forces.

PNG is a member of the Pacific Island Forum and the South Pacific Commission, and regional sub-groupings such as the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP). PNG has also been a major player in the Melanesian Spearhead Group – a political/economic group established in 1988.

Relations with the countries of East and South East Asia are important, in particular with Indonesia, with which PNG shares a land border, and increasingly so with China.
PNG's relations with the international community
PNG is a member of the UN, WTO and APEC, and is an Associate Member of ASEAN, and signed a Treaty of Amity and Co-operation with that organisation in 1989.

PNG maintains official overseas representation in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, the Philippines, the United States, the EU in Brussels, and the United Nations in New York.
PNG'S relations with the UK
Bilateral relations with the UK are good The UK has strong historical, political and commercial links with PNG. We share a Head of State, have a significant and influential UK community and remain close partners in the UN and Commonwealth.

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