Germany and Papua New Guinea: Bilateral relations

22.02.2024 - Article

Political relations between Germany and Papua New Guinea are amicable. Diplomatic contacts are maintained via the German Embassy in Canberra.

The northern part of Papua New Guinea was a German colony from 1884 until 1914. Even today, many geographical names still testify to Germany and Papua New Guinea’s brief shared history, e.g. Mount Wilhelm, the country’s highest mountain in the Bismarck Range. One interesting aspect of the countries’ shared past is an unusual language which has almost died out called Unserdeutsch – the world’s only German‑based Creole language.

The Divine Word University in Madang was founded by the Steyler missionaries and is home to a collection of German-language books. Support has been provided for the digitisation of this collection, and three selected books have been translated into English in order to make this period in history accessible once more to the general population.

Germany supports economic, social and cultural development in Papua New Guinea through its contributions to the EU’s Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – previously, until 2021, the European Development Fund (EDF). The country also plays a role in Germany’s close climate policy cooperation with the states of the South Pacific region, particularly within the framework of regional programmes run by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of the Federal Environment Ministry. In the autonomous province of Bougainville, Germany is helping work through the post‑referendum process with projects to support capacity-building and through the UNDP. In addition, there are various church‑affiliated development projects in Papua New Guinea, some of which have received German Government funding. Papua New Guinea is a member of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security in the United Nations, founded by Germany and Nauru.

According to Federal Statistical Office figures, Germany exported goods worth 15.8 million euro to the country in 2023 and imported goods worth as much as 244.4 million euro. Australia, China, Japan and Singapore are the country's main trading partners.

The German Embassy in Canberra supports smaller projects in Papua New Guinea on an annual basis, above all in the fields of education and health

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