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Vanuatu Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Port Vila (on the island of Efate; pop. 30 000)

Other Cities: Luganville (on the island of Espiritu Santo, also known as Santo).

Local Time: UTC +11h

Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and west of Fiji.
Area: Land--14 760 sq km (5 697 sq miles).
Terrain: Mostly mountains of volcanic origin, narrow coastal plains.

Climate: Maritime tropical; moderate rainfall from November to April.


Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 30 July 1980 (from France and UK) .
Constitution: 30 July 1980.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--ni-Vanuatu.
Population (2002 est.): 196,000.
Ethnic groups: 94% ni-Vanuatu; 4% European; 2% other Pacific Islanders, Asian.
Religion: Predominantly Christian.
Languages: Bislama (Pidgin), English, French, plus 113 distinct languages.
Literacy: 53%


Vatu (VUV)

Natural resources: Manganese, hardwood forests, fish.

Agriculture products: Copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, coconuts, fruits, vegetables; fish, beef.

Exports partners:
Thailand 46.3%, Malaysia 18.1%, Japan 7.4%, Belgium 5.3%, Indonesia 5.3% (2004)

Imports partners: Taiwan 34.6%, Australia 15.5%, Japan 10.7%, Singapore 8%, New Zealand 6%, Fiji 4.6% (2004)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Vanuatu

Government of Vanuatu

Vanuatu Statistics Office

Vanuatu Meteorological Service

Map of Vanuatu



Background:  The British and French who settled the New Hebrides in
the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which
administered the islands until independence in 1980.

Geography Vanuatu

Location:  Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about
three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates:  16 00 S, 167 00 E

Map references:  Oceania

Area:  total: 12,200 sq km land: 12,200 sq km note: includes more than
80 islands water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly larger than Connecticut

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  2,528 km

Maritime claims:  measured from claimed archipelagic baselines exclusive
economic zone:  of the continental margin contiguous zone: 24 NM

Climate:  tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds

Terrain:  mostly mountains of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point:
Tabwemasana 1,877 m

Natural resources:  manganese, hardwood forests, fish

Land use:  arable land: 3% permanent crops: 7% other: 90% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April);
volcanism causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis

Environment - current issues:  a majority of the population does not
have access to a potable and reliable supply of water; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Antarctic-Marine Living
Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol,
Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping,
Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94 signed,
but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:  a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller
islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes

People Vanuatu

Population:  196,178 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 35.6% (male 35,681; female 34,164) 15-64
years: 61.1% (male 61,384; female 58,473) 65 years and over: 3.3%
(male 3,473; female 3,003) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.66% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  24.83 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  8.25 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: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
1.16 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  59.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   62.8 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  3.08 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: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural) adjective: Ni-Vanuatu

Ethnic groups:  indigenous Melanesian 98%, French, Vietnamese, Chinese,
other Pacific Islanders

Religions:  Presbyterian 36.7%, Anglican 15%, Roman Catholic 15%,
indigenous beliefs 7.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6.2%, Church of Christ
3.8%, other 15.7% (including Jon Frum Cargo cult)

Languages:  three official languages: English, French, pidgin (known as
Bislama or Bichelama), plus more than 100 local languages

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 53% male: 57% female: 48% (1979 est.)

Government Vanuatu

Country name:   Republic of Vanuatu conventional short form: Government
type:  parliamentary republic

Capital:  Port-Vila

Administrative divisions:  6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa,
Tafea, Torba

Independence:  30 July 1980 (from France and UK)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 30 July (1980)

Constitution:  30 July 1980

Legal system:  unified system being created from former dual French and
British systems

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Father John BANI (since
25 March 1999) elections: president elected for a four-year term by an
electoral college consisting of Parliament and the presidents of the
regional councils for a five-year term; election for president last
held 25 March 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); following legislative
elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is
usually elected prime minister by Parliament from among its members;
election for prime minister last held 2 May 2002 (next to be held NA
2003) note: the government of Prime Minister Barak SOPE was ousted in
a no confidence vote on 14 April 2001 and Edward NATAPEI was elected
the new prime minister by Parliament election results:  - NA%; Edward
NATAPEI reelected prime minister by Parliament cabinet:  Parliament
head of government: Prime Minister Edward NATAPEI (since 16 April 2001);
Deputy Prime Minister Serge VOHOR (since 16 April 2001)

Legislative branch:  unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members elected by
popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 2 May 2002
(next to be held NA 2006) note: the National Council of Chiefs advises on
matters of custom and land election results: percent of vote by party -
NA%; seats by party - UMP 15, VP 14, VRP 3, MPP 2, other and independent
18; note - political party associations are fluid

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the
president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of
the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on
the advice of the Judicial Service Commission)

Political parties and leaders:  Jon Frum Movement [Song KEASPAI];
Melanesian Progressive Party or MPP [Barak SOPE]; National United Party
or NUP [Dinh Van THAN]; Union of Moderate Parties or UMP [Serge VOHOR];
Vanuaaku Party (Our Land Party) or VP [Edward NATAPEI]; Vanuatu Republican
Party [Maxime Carlot KORMAN]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

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

Diplomatic representation in the US:  Vanuatu does not have an embassy
in the US, it does, however, have a Permanent Mission to the UN

Diplomatic representation from the US:  the US does not have an embassy
in Vanuatu; the ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu

Flag description:  two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green
with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) all separated
by a black-edged yellow stripe in the shape of a horizontal Y (the two
points of the Y face the hoist side and enclose the triangle); centered
in the triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele leaves,
all in yellow

Economy Vanuatu

Economy - overview:  The economy is based primarily on subsistence
or small-scale agriculture which provides a living for 65% of the
population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with about
50,000 visitors in 1997, are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral
deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A
small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues
come mainly from import duties. Economic development is hindered by
dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural
disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent
islands. A severe earthquake in November 1999 followed by a tsunami,
caused extensive damage to the northern island of Pentecote and left
thousands homeless. Another powerful earthquake in January 2002 caused
extensive damage in the capital, Port-Vila, and surrounding areas,
and also was followed by a tsunami. GDP growth has risen less than 3%
on average in the 1990s. In response to foreign concerns, the government
has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $257 million (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  2.7% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $1,300 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 26% industry: 12% services:
62% (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% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  NA

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 65%, services 30%, industry 5%
(2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $94.4 million expenditures: $99.8 million, including
capital expenditures of $30.4 million (1996 est.)

Industries:  food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning

Industrial production growth rate:  1% (1997 est.)

Electricity - production:  39 million kWh (2000)

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

Electricity - consumption:  36.27 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams,
coconuts, fruits, vegetables; fish, beef

Exports:  $22.8 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Exports - commodities:  copra, kava, beef, cocoa, timber, coffee

Exports - partners:  Japan 32%, Belgium 17%, US 17%, Germany 8% (2000)

Imports:  $87.5 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, fuels

Imports - partners:  Australia 28%, Singapore 14%, New Zealand 8%,
Japan 4%, US 1% (2000)

Debt - external:  $64.6 million (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $45.8 million (1995)

Currency:  vatu (VUV)

Currency code:  VUV

Exchange rates:  vatu per US dollar - 146.02 (December 2001), 145.31
(2001), 137.64 (2000), 129.08 (1999), 127.52 (1998), 115.87 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Vanuatu

Telephones - main lines in use:  5,500 (1998)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  310 (2000)

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

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 2, FM 2, shortwave 1 (2002)

Radios:  67,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (2002)

Televisions:  2,300 (1999)

Internet country code:  .vu

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  3,000 (2000)

Transportation Vanuatu

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 1,070 km paved: 256 km unpaved: 814 km (1996)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Forari, Port-Vila, Santo (Espiritu Santo)

Merchant marine:  total: 54 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,092,838
GRT/1,329,576 DWT ships by type: bulk 22, cargo 9, chemical tanker 1,
combination bulk 3, container 2, liquefied gas 3, petroleum tanker 1,
refrigerated cargo 7, vehicle carrier 6 note: includes some foreign-owned
ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 3, Canada 2,
China 1, Japan 25, Monaco 4, Netherlands 1, New Zealand 5, Panama 1,
Poland 1, Switzerland 2, United Kingdom 4, US 2, Vietnam 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  31 (2001)

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

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 29 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to
1,523 m: 10 under 914 m: 17 (2001)

Military Vanuatu

Military branches:  no regular military forces; Vanuatu Police Force
(VPF; including the paramilitary Mobile Force or VMF)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Transnational Issues Vanuatu

Disputes - international:  Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New
Caledonia claimed by Vanuatu and France

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Map of Oceania and the Pacific Islands

Port Vila Presse Online

Arts & Culture
Further Arts Vanuatu

Vanuatu arts & entertainment

Business & Economy
Vanuatu Foreign Investment Board

Air Vanuatu


Destination Vanuatu - Travel and Tour Guides
Vanuatu Tourism Office

Vanuatu A-Z Visitors Guide

Vanuatu Online


Vanuatu Volcano Travel

Finding Vanuatu

Jane's Vanuatu Home Page

Education on Vanuatu.

Port Vila Presse Online Vanuatu :: Environment

Vanuatu's Biodiversity

History of Vanuatu

Search, Vanuatu's connexion




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