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Reunion Sovereignty: France

Capital City: Saint-Denis



Background:  The Portuguese discovered the uninhabited island in
1513. From the 17th to the 19th centuries, French immigration supplemented
by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and Malabar Indians gave the
island its ethnic mix. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cost the
island its importance as a stopover on the East Indies trade route.

Geography Reunion

Location:  Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates:  21 06 S, 55 36 E

Map references:  World

Area:  total: 2,512 sq km water: 10 sq km land: 2,502 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Rhode Island

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  207 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:  tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and
dry from May to November, hot and rainy from November to April

Terrain:  mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point:
Piton des Neiges 3,069 m

Natural resources:  fish, arable land, hydropower

Land use:  arable land: 13% permanent crops: 2% other: 85% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  120 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  periodic, devastating cyclones (December to April);
Piton de la Fournaise on the southeastern coast is an active volcano

Environment - current issues:  NA

Geography - note:  this mountainous, volcanic island has an active
volcano, Piton de la Fournaise; there is a tropical cyclone center
at Saint-Denis, which is the monitoring station for the whole of the
Indian Ocean

People Reunion

Population:  743,981 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 31.7% (male 120,864; female 115,251) 15-64
years: 62.5% (male 228,864; female 235,991) 65 years and over: 5.8%
(male 17,459; female 25,552) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.52% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  20.7 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5.51 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.68 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  8.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   76.74 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.55 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Reunionese (singular and plural) adjective: Reunionese

Ethnic groups:  French, African, Malagasy, Chinese, Pakistani, Indian

Religions:  Roman Catholic 86%, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist (1995)

Languages:  French (official), Creole widely used

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 79% male: 76% female: 80% (1982 est.)

Government Reunion

Country name:   Department of Reunion conventional short form:  Bourbon

Dependency status:  overseas department of France

Government type:  NA

Capital:  Saint-Denis

Administrative divisions:  none (overseas department of France); there are
no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government,
but there are 4 arrondissements, 24 communes, and 47 cantons

Independence:  none (overseas department of France)

National holiday:  Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)

Constitution:  28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system:  French law

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France
(since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Gonthier FRIEDERICI (since NA)
elections:  appointed by the French president on the advice of the French
Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional
Councils are elected by the members of those councils head of government:
President of the General Council Jean-Luc POUDROUX (since NA March 1998)
and President of the Regional Council Paul VERGES (since NA March 1993)
cabinet: NA

Legislative branch:  unicameral General Council (49 seats; members are
elected by direct, popular vote to serve six-year terms) and a unicameral
Regional Council (45 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote
to serve six-year terms) elections: General Council - last held NA March
1998 (next to be held NA 2004); Regional Council - last held 15 March 1998
(next to be held NA 2004) election results: General Council - percent of
vote by party - NA%; seats by party - various right-wing candidates 27,
PCR 10, PS 10, other left-wing candidates 2; Regional Council - percent
of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PCR 7, UDF 8, PS 6, RPR 4,
various right-wing candidates 15, various left-wing candidates 5 note:
Reunion elects three representatives to the French Senate; elections
last held NA 2001 (next to be held NA 2006); results - percent of vote
by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; Reunion also elects five deputies
to the French National Assembly; elections last held 9 June-16 June 2002
(next to be held NA 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%;
seats by party - NA

Judicial branch:  Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel

Political parties and leaders:  Communist Party of Reunion or PCR
[Paul VERGES]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Andre Maurice PIHOUEE];
Socialist Party or PS [Jean-Claude FRUTEAU]; Union for French Democracy
or UDF [Gilbert GERARD]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  FZ, InOC, WFTU

Diplomatic representation in the US:  none (overseas department of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US:  none (overseas department
of France)

Flag description:  the flag of France is used

Economy Reunion

Economy - overview:  The economy has traditionally been based on
agriculture. Sugarcane has been the primary crop for more than a century,
and in some years it accounts for 85% of exports. The government has
been pushing the development of a tourist industry to relieve high
unemployment, which amounts to more than 40% of the labor force. The gap
in Reunion between the well-off and the poor is extraordinary and accounts
for the persistent social tensions. The white and Indian communities
are substantially better off than other segments of the population,
often approaching European standards, whereas minority groups suffer the
poverty and unemployment typical of the poorer nations of the African
continent. The outbreak of severe rioting in February 1991 illustrates
the seriousness of socioeconomic tensions. The economic well-being of
Reunion depends heavily on continued financial assistance from France.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $3.4 billion (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  3.8% (1998 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $4,800 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  NA%

Labor force:  261,000 (1995)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 8%, industry 19%, services 73%

Unemployment rate:  42.8% (1998)

Budget:  revenues: NA expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures
of $NA

Industries:  sugar, rum, cigarettes, handicraft items, flower oil

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  1.09 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 55.05% hydro: 44.95%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  1.014 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  sugarcane, vanilla, tobacco, tropical fruits,
vegetables, corn

Exports:  $214 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports - commodities:  sugar 63%, rum and molasses 4%, perfume essences
2%, lobster 3%, (1993)

Exports - partners:  France 74%, Japan 6%, Comoros 4% (1994)

Imports:  $2.5 billion (c.i.f., 1997)

Imports - commodities:  manufactured goods, food, beverages, tobacco,
machinery and transportation equipment, raw materials, and petroleum

Imports - partners:  France 64%, Bahrain 3%, Germany 3%, Italy 3% (1994)

Debt - external:  $NA

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA; note - substantial annual subsidies
from France

Currency:  euro (EUR); French franc (FRF)

Currency code:  EUR; FRF

Exchange rates:  euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar -
5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Reunion

Telephones - main lines in use:  268,500 (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  197,000 (September 2000)

Telephone system:  general assessment: adequate system; principal center
is Saint-Denis domestic: modern open wire and microwave radio relay
network international: radiotelephone communication to Comoros, France,
Madagascar; new microwave route to Mauritius; satellite earth station -
1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 2, FM 55, shortwave 0 (2001)

Radios:  173,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  35 (plus 18 low-power repeaters) (2001)

Televisions:  127,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .re

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  10,000 (1999)

Transportation Reunion

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 2,724 km paved: 1,300 km (including 73 km of four-lane
road) note: 370 km of road are maintained by national authorities, 754
km by departmental authorities and 1,600 km by local authorities (1994)
unpaved: 1,424 km

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Le Port, Pointe des Galets

Merchant marine:   1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 28,264 GRT/44,885
DWT note:  France 1 (2002 est.)  ships by type: chemical tanker 1

Airports:  2 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 1 (2001)

Military Reunion

Military branches:  no regular indigenous military forces; French forces
(including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Gendarmerie)

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 194,485 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 99,251
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 6,243
(2002 est.)

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues Reunion

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Internet Links

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La Reunion

Université de la Réunion

Les Cultures Indiennes de la Reunion




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