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PNG to revel in global spotlight: PM

AAP logoAAP 16/09/2016 Lisa Martin

As Papua New Guinea marks 41 years of independence its leader has revelled in the prospect of the international spotlight as his country gears up to host major sports and economic forums.

At a flag-raising ceremony in Port Moresby on Friday, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said it will be with enormous pride that PNG showcases itself while hosting soccer's under-20 women's World Cup in two months.

"We can welcome our guests and showcase our country on television around the world," he said.

"We have much to be proud of in Papua New Guinea."

The prime minister, who survived a no-confidence motion in July and faces voters at an election mid-2017, talked up his government's record in office.

"We have stability in government and we have stability in policy, we have stability in the bureaucracy," he said.

Despite the budget bottom line looking grim, an economy in turmoil, problems with accessing foreign exchange and a potential recession, Mr O'Neill played down the challenges ahead.

"Investors are learning that this is a safe and sound country in which to invest and get a decent return," he said.

He singled out free primary school education, gains in improving health services and poverty reduction as key achievements.

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