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Introduction Samoa
New Zealand occupied German protectorate of Western Samoa at outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when islands became first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in 20th century. country dropped "Western" from its name in 1997.
Geography Samoa
Oceania, group of islands in South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates:
13 35 S, 172 20 W
Map references:
total: 2,944 sq km
water: 10 sq km
land: 2,934 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
403 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; rainy season (October to March), dry season (May to October)
narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mauga Silisili 1,857 m
Natural resources:
hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 19.43%
permanent crops: 23.67%
other: 56.9% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons; active volcanism
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
occupies an almost central position within Polynesia
People Samoa
Total Population:
178,173 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29.4% (male 26,613; female 25,715)
15-64 years: 64.6% (male 72,135; female 42,903)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 4,980; female 5,827) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 23.7 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 20.2 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
-0.27% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
15.41 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
6.41 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-11.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.68 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
Population: 1.39 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 29.73 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 34.98 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 70.11 years
male: 67.35 years
female: 73 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.21 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Samoan(s)
adjective: Samoan
Ethnic groups:
Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7% (persons of European and Polynesian blood), Europeans 0.4%
Christian 99.7% (about one-half of population associated with London Missionary Society; includes Congregational, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventist)
Samoan (Polynesian), English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 99.7%
male: 99.6%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)
Government Samoa
Country name:
conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa
conventional short form: Samoa
former: Western Samoa
Government type:
constitutional monarchy under native chief
Administrative divisions:
11 districts; A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai, Atua, Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gagaifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, Tuamasaga, Va'a-o-Fonoti, Vaisigano
1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday:
Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is date of independence from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship, 1 June 1962 is date that independence is celebrated
1 January 1962
Legal system:
based on English common law and local customs; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of citizen; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Chief Tanumafili II MALIETOA (cochief of state from 1 January 1962 until becoming sole chief of state 5 April 1963)
head of government: Prime Minister Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA (since 1996); note - TUILA'EPA served as deputy prime minister from 1992 until he assumed prime ministership in 1996, when former Prime Minister TOFILAU Eti Alesana resigned in poor health; TUILA'EPA previously confirmed as prime minister after TOFILAU died; post of deputy prime minister is currently vacant
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 12 members, appointed by chief of state with prime minister's advice
elections: upon death of Chief Tanumafili II MALIETOA, a new chief of state will be elected by Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term; following legislative elections, leader of majority party is usually appointed prime minister by chief of state with approval of Legislative Assembly
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats - 47 elected by voters affiliated with traditional village-based electoral districts, 2 elected by independent, mostly Eurasian, voters who cannot, (or choose not to) establish a village affiliation; only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to Fono; members serve five-year terms)
elections: election last held 3 March 2001 (next election to be held not later than March 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - HRPP 30, SNDP 13, independents 6
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; Land and Titles Court
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party [leader NA]; Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA, chairman]; Samoa All People's Party or SAPP [Matatumua MAIMOANA]; Samoan National Development Party or SNDP [LE MAMEA Ropati, chairman] (opposition); Samoa National Party [FETU Tiatia, party secretary]; Samoan Progressive Conservative Party [LEOTA Ituau Ale]; Samoan United Independents Party or SUIP [Dr. Saleimoa VAAI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Feturi ELISAIA
FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196, 6197
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
embassy: Vailima
mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Apia
telephone: [685] 21631/22696
FAX: [685] 22030
Flag description:
red with a blue rectangle in upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing Southern Cross constellation
Economy Samoa
Economy - overview:
economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, and agriculture and fishing. country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. decline of fish stocks in area is a continuing problem. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting for 25% of GDP; about 88,000 tourists visited islands in 2001. Samoan Government has called for deregulation of financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, meantime protecting environment. Observers point to flexibility of labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, external debt is stable, and inflation is low.
buying power parity - $1 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $5,600 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 23%
services: 63% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
90,000 (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Unemployment rate:
NA%; note - substantial underemployment
revenues: $105 million
expenditures: $119 million, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2001/2002)
food processing, building materials, auto parts
Industrial production growth rate:
2.8% (2000)
Electricity - production:
105.1 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 58%
hydro: 42%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
97.74 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa
$15.5 million f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:
fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer
Exports - partners:
Australia 66.1%, US 10%, Japan 3.7% (2002)
$130.1 million f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
New Zealand 23.3%, Fiji 20.2%, Australia 15.7%, Japan 13.1%, Taiwan 6.4%, US 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$197 million (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$42.9 million (1995)
tala (SAT)
Currency code:
SAT (former WST code is still in wide use)
Exchange rates:
tala per US dollar - 3.37 (2002), 3.48 (2001), 3.29 (2000), 3.01 (1999), 2.95 (1998)
Fiscal year:
June 1 - May 31
Communications Samoa
Telephones - main lines in use:
8,183 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,545 (February 1998)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
174,849 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
2 (2002)
8,634 (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
3,000 (2002)
Transportation Samoa
0 km
total: 790 km
paved: 332 km
unpaved: 458 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Apia, Asau, Mulifanua, Salelologa
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) 7,091 GRT/8,127 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1 (2002 est.)
4 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Samoa
Military branches:
no regular armed services; Samoa Police Force
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Military - note:
Samoa has no formal defense structure or regular armed forces; informal defense ties exist with NZ, which is required to consider any Samoan request for assistance under 1962 Treaty of Friendship
Transnational Issues Samoa
Disputes - international:
none; note - some EEZ demarcations, includes one with American Samoa, are undefined