High levels of Papua New Guinean poverty overshadows APEC

High levels of Papua New Guinean poverty overshadows APEC

Today, the Senior Official Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will meet in Port Moresby. Though a member for

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Photo: Alamy/Hemis

Today, the Senior Official Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will meet in Port Moresby.

Though a member for 25 years, Papua New Guinea’s is hosting APEC for its first time. The economic forum’s 21 countries across the Pacific Rim represent 55% of the world’s GDP and nearly half of its total trade. Officials see hosting the event as an opportunity to attract further investment to the country’s agricultural sector, one of its biggest exports.

But challenges accompany hosting some of the world’s most influential economic meetings in a country where nearly 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. The capital is facing a shortage of hotel rooms while security and transportation are also stretched thin.

Leading up to APEC’s main event, its November summit, Papua New Guinea will likely continue hedging the bet that increased private sector growth will outweigh heavy government spending. However, expect much of the revenue to be sucked up by large corporate hotels and transportation services, leaving little for the local businesses of the country.

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