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Tonga Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Nuku'alofa (pop. 20 000)

Local Time: UTC +13h

Location: Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, south of Samoa.
Area: total 748 sq. km.
Terrain: Volcanic islands and low raised coral islands surrounding soaring volcanoes.

Climate: Subtropical, slightly cooler and less humid than most tropical areas. From November to April is cyclone season.

Type: Constitutional Monarchy (since 1875)
Independence: 4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Tongan(s)
Population: 110 000
Ethnic Groups: Polynesian 98%, Europeans
Religion: Christian
Languages: Tongan, English
Literacy: 98.5%


Currency: Tongan Pa'anga (TOP)

Natural resources: Fish, fertile soil.

Internet Links

Official Sites of Tonga

Government of the Kingdom of Tonga

Tonga Consulate General in San Francisco

Tonga Maps
Map of Tonga

Oceania reference map.



Background:  The archipelago of "The Friendly Islands" was united into a
Polynesian kingdom in 1845. It became a constitutional monarchy in 1875
and a British protectorate in 1900. Tonga acquired its independence in
1970 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It remains the
only monarchy in the Pacific.

Geography Tonga

Location:  Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about
two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates:  20 00 S, 175 00 W

Map references:  Oceania

Area:  total: 748 sq km water: 30 sq km land: 718 sq km

Area - comparative:  four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  419 km

Maritime claims:  continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of
exploitation territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

Climate:  tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to
May), cool season (May to December)

Terrain:  most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral
formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point:
unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m

Natural resources:  fish, fertile soil

Land use:  arable land: 24% permanent crops: 43% other: 33% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic
activity on Fonuafo'ou

Environment - current issues:  deforestation results as more and more
land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to
coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors;
overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations

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

Geography - note:  archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)

People Tonga

Population:  106,137 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 39.5% (male 21,374; female 20,555) 15-64
years: 56.4% (male 29,519; female 30,322) 65 years and over: 4.1%
(male 1,945; female 2,422) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.85% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  24.08 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5.63 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: 1.04
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.8 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  13.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   71.11 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  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: Tongan(s) adjective: Tongan

Ethnic groups:  Polynesian, Europeans about 300

Religions:  Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)

Languages:  Tongan, English

Literacy:   can read and write Tongan and/or English total population:
Government Tonga

Country name:  conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga conventional
short form: Tonga former: Friendly Islands

Government type:  hereditary constitutional monarchy

Capital:  Nuku'alofa

Administrative divisions:  3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u

Independence:  4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 4 June (1970)

Constitution:  4 November 1875, revised 1 January 1967

Legal system:  based on English law

Suffrage:  21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:   King Taufa'ahau TUPOU IV (since 16 December 1965)
note:  and two governors elections: none; the monarch is hereditary;
prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed for life by the monarch
cabinet: Cabinet, appointed by the monarch, consists of 12 members head of
government: Prime Minister Prince Lavaka ata ULUKALALA (since NA February
2000) and Deputy Prime Minister Tevita TOPOU (since NA January 2001)

Legislative branch:  unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea
(30 seats - 12 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio,
nine for nobles selected by the country's 33 nobles, and nine elected
by popular vote; members serve three-year terms) elections: last held 7
March 2002 (next to be held NA 2005) election results: percent of vote -
pro-democratic 70%; seats - pro-democratic 7, traditionalist 2

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch);
Court of Appeal (consists of the Privy Council with the addition of the
chief justice of the Supreme Court)

Political parties and leaders:  there are no political parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Tonga Human Rights and Democracy
Movement or THRDM [Akilisi POHIVA, president]

International organization participation:  ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO,
WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Sione
KITE chancery: 250 East 51st Street,
 [1] (917) 369-1136 consulate(s) general:
Diplomatic representation from the US:  the US does not have an embassy
in Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga

Flag description:  red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in
the upper hoist-side corner

Economy Tonga

Economy - overview:  Tonga has a small, open economy with a narrow export
base in agricultural goods.  Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans
are the main crops, and agricultural exports make up two-thirds of total
exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly
from New Zealand. Tourism is the second largest source of hard currency
earnings following remittances. The country remains dependent on external
aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade
deficit. The government is emphasizing the development of the private
sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing
increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonable basic
infrastructure and well-developed social services.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $225 million (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  5.3% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $2,200 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 30% industry: 10% services:
60% (2001 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  9.4% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  33,908 (1996)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 65% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate:  13.3% (1996 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $39.9 million expenditures: $52.4 million, including
capital expenditures of $1.9 million (FY99/00 est.)

Industries:  tourism, fishing

Industrial production growth rate:  8.6% (FY98/99)

Electricity - production:  30 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  27.9 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans,
cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish

Exports:  $9.3 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Exports - commodities:  squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops

Exports - partners:  Japan 50.4%, US 31.6%, NZ 4.1%, Australia 2.1%,
Fiji 1.7% (2000 est.)

Imports:  $70 million (c.i.f., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities:  foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment,
fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners:  New Zealand 29.8%, Japan 18.6%, Australia 12.7%,
US 12.7%, Fiji 12.2% (2000 est.)

Debt - external:  $57.5 million (June 2001)

Economic aid - recipient:  Australia $5.5 million, New Zealand $2.3
million (FY01/02)

Currency:  pa'anga (TOP)

Currency code:  TOP

Exchange rates:  pa'anga per US dollar - 2.1920 (January 2002), 2.1236
(2001), 1.7585 (2000), 1.5991 (1999), 1.4920 (1998), 1.2635 (1997)

Fiscal year:  1 July - 30 June

Communications Tonga

Telephones - main lines in use:  8,000 (1996)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  302 (1996)

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA domestic: NA international:
satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (1996)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (2001)

Radios:  61,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  2 (2001)

Televisions:  2,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .to

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2000)

Internet users:  1,000 (2000)

Transportation Tonga

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 680 km paved: 184 km unpaved: 496 km (1996)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Neiafu, Nuku'alofa, Pangai

Merchant marine:  total: 80 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 292,139
GRT/421,221 DWT ships by type: bulk 10, cargo 54, liquefied gas 4,
petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 4 note: includes some foreign-owned
ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Albania 1, Australia 4,
Austria 1, Bolivia 1, Cyprus 1, Djibouti 1, Egypt 2, Greece 4, Lebanon 2,
Liberia 2, Marshall Islands 2, Morocco 1, Norway 1, Panama 1, Romania 3,
Russia 1, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Saudi Arabia 2, Singapore 1, Sweden
1, Switzerland 3, Syria 5, Ukraine 1, United Arab Emirates 16, United
States 4 (2002 est.)

Airports:  6 (2001)

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

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 1 under 914 m: 2 (2001)

Military Tonga

Military branches:  Tonga Defense Services (made up of three operational
command components and two support elements, including the Royal Marines,
Royal Guards, Maritime Force, a support/logistics group, and a training
group), Police; note - a new air wing that will be subordinate to the
Ministry of Defense is being developed

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Transnational Issues Tonga

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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