National Capital District: Papua New Guinea Business Guide


The National Capital District (NCD) is Port Moresby. It is both a city and a district and the gateway to Papua New Guinea – the nation’s capital, centre of politics, trade and commerce. The city, which has become a growing and bustling metropolitan area, is dry, dusty and brown during the winter months, but is wet, humid and overgrown in summer. It is located on the southern coast of the country, surrounded by part of Fairfax Harbour.

Detail of Papua New Guinea’s National Parliament building. Credit: David Kirkland

When Port Moresby was selected as the seat of government for PNG, there was considerable urban drift, which brought people from almost every tribal group to the city, as well as attracting a large number of foreigners. About 58 per cent of Port Moresby’s population were not born in NCD but are considered in-migrants. This is contributing to the rapid expansion of the city, especially in settlement areas. Port Moresby is modernising fast and has 500 kilometres of sealed roads, more than any other province.

Economic overview

There is a broad range of formal and informal economic activities in the NCD, reflecting its role as the main commercial centre of the country. Most of PNG’s larger companies, and foreign companies operating in PNG, have their headquarters in the NCD. There is considerable construction activity, including substantial building of housing, office towers, shopping malls and commercial establishments in Port Moresby. The government and administrative suburb of Waigani has seen significant developments in recent years, including the large Vision City and Star Mountain Plaza projects and new government buildings. The reclaimed waterfront area between Hanuabada village and Town has also been extensively redeveloped with apartments, restaurants and shopping centres. Sporting facilities have been upgraded significantly. Business activity in the metropolis is diverse, including schools and education institutions, banks, head offices of foreign corporations, medical centres, food stores, hotels, insurance, markets, offices, petrol stations, shopping centres, and other retail. Port Moresby is close to the Napa Napa oil refinery and the PNG LNG plant, both sited in neighbouring Central Province.

Energy production in the capital has improved immensely in recent years, with the advent of gas-fired power. In 2018, the city’s port was relocated to the larger Motukea Island site, freeing up more land for urban renewal.

In 2018, Port Moresby hosted APEC, which occasioned significant new expenditure on public facilities such as improved roads, an upgrade of its international airport, a remodelled Ela Beach recreational area, a new International Convention Centre and APEC Haus.


The National Museum and Art Gallery in Waigani has more than 30,000 anthropological collections. Next to the museum is National Parliament (, best known for its steep roof depicting a Sepik spirit house. The Port Moresby Nature Park showcases the nation’s flora and fauna, including the bird of paradise. To get an overview of Port Moresby there are day tours with tour operators, which often include visits to craft markets. The Hiri Moale Festival in September commemorates the great Hiri trade voyages and includes the crowning of the Hiri queen.

Where to stay

National Capital District in brief

Province name: National Capital District

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Capital: Port Moresby

Population: 369,139

Area: 240 square kilometres

Sectors: Diversified, construction, retail, restaurants, offices, infrastructure.

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