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Samoa Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Apia on the island of Upolu (pop. 34 000)

Local Time: UTC -11h

Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand.
Area: about 2,900 sq. km. in two main islands plus seven smaller ones.
Terrain: Volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior with narrow coastal plain.

Climate: Tropical; dry season (May to October), rainy season (November to April).

Type: Mix of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy under native chief.
Independence (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship): January 1, 1962.
Constitution: January 1, 1962.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Samoan(s).
Population: (July 2003 est.) 178 000.
Ethnic Groups: Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7% (persons of European and Polynesian blood), Europeans 0.4%
Religions: Christian 99.7% (about one-half of population associated with the London Missionary Society).
Languages: Samoan (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English.
Literacy: 99.7%


Currency: Tala, or Samoan dollar, (SAT, former WST code is still in use)

Natural resources: Coconut products, timber, fish, taro, hydropower.

Internet Links

Official Sites of Samoa


The Parliament of Samoa

Samoa Tourism Authority


Map of Oceania and the Pacific Islands



Background:  New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa
at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the
islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the
islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in
the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.

Geography Samoa

Location:  Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about
one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates:  13 35 S, 172 20 W

Map references:  Oceania

Area:  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

Coastline:  403 km

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

Climate:  tropical; rainy season (October to March), dry season (May
to October)

Terrain:  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% permanent crops: 24% other: 57% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  occasional typhoons; active volcanism

Environment - current issues:  soil erosion

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea,
Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:  occupies an almost central position within Polynesia

People Samoa

Population:  178,631 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 30.6% (male 27,774; female 26,854) 15-64
years: 63.5% (male 71,358; female 42,150) 65 years and over: 5.9%
(male 4,859; female 5,636) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  -0.25% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  15.53 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  6.35 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -11.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.69 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.86 male(s)/female total population: 1.39 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  30.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   72.69 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  3.3 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: Samoan(s) adjective: Samoan

Ethnic groups:  Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7% (persons of European and
Polynesian blood), Europeans 0.4%

Religions:  Christian 99.7% (about one-half of population associated with
the London Missionary Society; includes Congregational, Roman Catholic,
Methodist, Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventist)

Languages:  Samoan (Polynesian), English

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 80% male: 81% female: 79% (1999)

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

Capital:  Apia

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

Independence:  1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN

National holiday:  Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1
January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered
UN trusteeship, 1 June 1962 is the date that independence is celebrated

Constitution:  1 January 1962

Legal system:  based on English common law and local customs; judicial
review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the
citizen; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  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 24 November 1998); note - TUILA'EPA served as deputy prime
minister from 1992 until he assumed the prime ministership in November
1998, when former Prime Minister TOFILAU Eti Alesana resigned in poor
health; the post of deputy prime minister is currently vacant cabinet:
Cabinet consists of 12 members, appointed by the chief of state with the
prime minister's advice elections: upon the death of Chief Tanumafili
II MALIETOA, a new chief of state will be elected by the Legislative
Assembly to serve a five-year term; prime minister appointed by the
chief of state with the approval of the Legislative Assembly

Legislative branch:  unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats -
47 elected by Samoans, 2 elected by non-Samoans; only chiefs or matai
may stand for election to the Fono; members serve five-year terms)
elections: byelection last held NA November 2001 (next byelection to be
held 29 March 2002) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%;
seats by party - HRPP 30, SNDP 13, independents 6

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court; Court of Appeal

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 NAIMOAGA];
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
Independent Party or SUIP [leader NA]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO,
ITU, OPCW (signatory), Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO,
WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Tuiloma Neroni SLADE FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797 telephone: [1] (212)
599-6196, 6197 chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: the Ambassador
to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa embassy: 5th floor, Beach Road,
Apia mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Apia telephone: [685] 21631 FAX:
[685] 22030

Flag description:  red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side
quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern
Cross constellation

Economy Samoa

Economy - overview:  The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent
on development aid, family remittances from overseas, and agricultural
exports. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture
employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports,
featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The manufacturing sector
mainly processes agricultural products. The decline of fish stocks in the
area is a continuing problem. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting
for 16% of GDP; about 85,000 tourists visited the islands in 2000. The
Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector,
encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. Observers
point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for
future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy
state, the external debt is stable, and inflation is low.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $618 million (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  6% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $3,500 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 16% industry: 18% services:
66% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  90,000 (2000 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 65%, services 30%, industry 5%
(1995 est.)

Unemployment rate:  NA%; note - substantial underemployment

Budget:  revenues: $105 million expenditures: $119 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2001/2002)

Industries:  food processing, building materials, auto parts

Industrial production growth rate:  2.8% (2000)

Electricity - production:  103 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 59.22% hydro: 40.78%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  95.79 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  coconuts, bananas, taro, yams

Exports:  $17 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Exports - commodities:  fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro,
garments, beer

Exports - partners:  Australia 62%, Indonesia 13%, US 11%, American
Samoa 3%, New Zealand 3% (2000)

Imports:  $90 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, industrial supplies,

Imports - partners:  Australia 27%, US 26%, New Zealand 14%, Fiji 12%,
Japan 9% (2000)

Debt - external:  $192 million (1999)

Economic aid - recipient:  $42.9 million (1995)

Currency:  tala (WST)

Currency code:  WST

Exchange rates:  tala per US dollar - 3.5236 (January 2002), 3.4722
(2001), 3.2712 (2000), 3.0120 (1999), 2.9429 (1998), 2.5562 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

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)

Radios:  174,849 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  6 (1997)

Televisions:  8,634 (1999)

Internet country code:  .ws

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2000)

Internet users:  500 (2000)

Transportation Samoa

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 836 km paved: 267 km unpaved: 569 km (1983)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Apia, Asau, Mulifanua, Salelologa

Merchant marine:  total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 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.)

Airports:  3 (2001)

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

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2001)

Military Samoa

Military branches:  no regular armed services; Samoa Police Force

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

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 the 1962 Treaty of Friendship

Transnational Issues Samoa

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Samoa News
Samoa News

Samoa Observer

The CocoNET Wireless

Pacific Islands Report

Pacific Forum opens Samoa talks

Arts & Culture

Pacific Legends and Oral History

Polynesian Cultural Center

Business & Economy
Central Bank of Samoa

Department of Trade, Commerce and Industry

Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters - SAME

Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Polynesian Airlines

Destination Samoa - Travel and Tour Guides

Samoa Tourism Authority

Finding Samoa

Jane's Samoa Home Page

Samoa Sensation

South Pacific Tourism Organisation

Travel advices
Travel advice for Samoa Islands

The National University of Samoa

Samoa Polytechnic

Pacific Environmental Information Network (PEIN)

South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

A Brief History

History of Amerika Samoa

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS)

Te Puna Web Directory




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