Papua New Guinea is undergoing a period of extraordinary transformation, politically, socially and economically. Members of the post-independence generation are assuming positions of power and influence. The O’Neill government elected in July faces a host of development and social challenges that need urgent attention.
PNG’s place in the world is shifting. As the economic centre of the world moves from west to east, PNG’s international relationships are diversifying as PNG’s economic and diplomatic ties grow with newer Asian partners. The ‘Asian Century’ offers up a raft of opportunities for PNG’s development. However, strong ties with Asia will also come with its own set of complexities.
With a growing youth bulge – the median age is 21 years and 30% of the population is aged under 30 – PNG’s youth face a future of limited employment prospects, despite the economy recording consistently high levels of economic growth buoyed by high commodity prices and a strong mining sector. Studies indicate that an increasing proportion of urban youth are being marginalised. Inequality, poverty and few employment opportunities for those without formal education pose huge challenges for Australia’s closest neighbour and one of our most bilateral partners.
The future of PNG will increasingly be driven by and depend on PNG’s upcoming young leaders from civil society, government, media and the private sector.
The Lowy Institute is hosting 'New Voices' in partnership with Leadership PNG, PNG’s National Broadcasting Corporation and the Institute of National Affairs.
Topics to be discussed at the conference include transforming the national economy, a changing media landscape, the influence of civil society, living in a man’s world, the political power of social media, and Papua New Guinea’s international choices and place in the Asian Century. Support from The Trust Company, AusAID and the Swires Group makes this event possible.
Confirmed speakers include Allan Bird, agribusiness expert, Amanda Donigi, Editor of Stella Magazine, Emmanul Narokobi, Managing Director of Masali Communications and blogger, and Tavurvur, political blogger at the Garamut.
We are live tweeting from the conference - just search for #PNGnewvoices - or follow @LowyInstitute on Twitter.
For further information please contact DCave@lowyinstitute.org.