Samoa

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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

Location

Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand

Geographic coordinates

13.35° S, 172.20° W

Area 178/257

total: 2,831 sq km

land: 2,821 sq km

water: 10 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Rhode Island

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

403 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October)

Terrain

two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rugged mountains in interior

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Silisili 1,857 m

Natural resources

hardwood forests, fish, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 12.4%

arable land 2.8%; permanent crops 7.8%; permanent pasture 1.8%

forest: 60.4%

other: 27.2% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

occasional typhoons; active volcanism

volcanism: Savai'I Island (elev. 1,858 m), which last erupted in 1911, is historically active

Environment - current issues

soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

occupies an almost central position within Polynesia

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Samoan(s)

adjective: Samoan

Ethnic groups

Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians (persons of European and Polynesian blood) 7%, Europeans 0.4% (2001 census)

Languages

Samoan (Polynesian) (official), English

Religions

Protestant 57.4% (Congregationalist 31.8%, Methodist 13.7%, Assembly of God 8%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.9%), Roman Catholic 19.4%, Mormon 15.2%, Worship Centre 1.7%, other Christian 5.5%, other 0.7%, none 0.1%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)

Population 185/238

197,773

note: prior estimates used official net migration data by sex, but a highly unusual pattern for 1993 lead to a significant imbalance in the sex ratios (more men and fewer women) and a seeming reduction in the female population; the revised total was calculated using a 1993 number that was an average of the 1992 and 1994 migration figures (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 32.72% (male 33,393/female 31,324)

15-24 years: 19.96% (male 20,253/female 19,217)

25-54 years: 35.58% (male 36,374/female 33,993)

55-64 years: 6.24% (male 6,283/female 6,057)

65 years and over: 5.5% (male 4,730/female 6,149) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74%

youth dependency ratio: 64.9%

elderly dependency ratio: 9.1%

potential support ratio: 11% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 23.5 years

male: 23.3 years

female: 23.8 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 152/233

0.58% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 78/224

20.87 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 178/225

5.32 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 215/222

-9.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 19.1% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: -0.24% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

APIA (capital) 37,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

23.6

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 72/184

51 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 90/224

total: 19.57 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 23.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 15.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 131/224

total population: 73.46 years

male: 70.58 years

female: 76.48 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 60/224

2.84 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

28.7% (2009)

Health expenditures 83/191

7.5% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.45 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density

1 beds/1,000 population (2005)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 97.5% of population

rural: 99.3% of population

total: 99% of population

unimproved:

urban: 2.5% of population

rural: 0.7% of population

total: 1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 93.3% of population

rural: 91.1% of population

total: 91.5% of population

unimproved:

urban: 6.7% of population

rural: 8.9% of population

total: 8.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 6/191

41.6% (2014)

Education expenditures 48/173

5.8% of GDP (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 75/134

total: 19.1%

male: 15.6%

female: 25.3% (2012 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa

conventional short form: Samoa

local long form: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa

local short form: Samoa

former: Western Samoa

note: the name "Samoa" is composed of two parts, "sa" meaning sacred and "moa" meaning center, so the name can mean Holy Center; alternatively, it can mean "place of the sacred moa bird" of Polynesian mythology

Government type

parliamentary democracy

Capital

name: Apia

geographic coordinates: 13.49° S, 171.46° W

time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

+1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April

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 trusteeship)

National holiday

Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship; it is observed in June

Constitution

several previous (preindependence); latest 1 January 1962; amended several times, last in 2015 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Samoa

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: TUI ATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 20 June 2007)

head of government: Prime Minister TUILA'EPA Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998); Deputy Prime Minister FONOTOE Pierre Lauofo (since 2011)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice

elections/appointments: chief of state indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 20 July 2012 (next to be held in 2017); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state, approved by the Legislative Assembly

election results: TUI ATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats; 47 members - traditional family chiefs or matai and 2 members - part-Samoan or non-Samoan - directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: election last held on 4 March 2011 (next election to be held no later than March 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - HRPP 29, Tautua Samoa 13, independents 7

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 2 Supreme Court judges and meets once or twice a year); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and several judges)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the head of state upon the advice of the prime minister; other Supreme Court judges appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body chaired by the chief justice and includes the attorney general and an appointee of the Minister of Justice; judges normally appointed until retirement at age 68

subordinate courts: District Court; Magistrates' Courts; Land and Titles Courts; village fono or village chief councils

Political parties and leaders

Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA]

Samoa Christian Party or TCP [Tuala Tiresa MALIETOA]

Samoa Progressive Political Party or SPPP [Toalepaiali'i Toesulusulu S'iueva POSE II]

Tautua Samoa [Leatinu'u Salole LESA]

Political pressure groups and leaders

NA

International organization participation

ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Flag description

red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation; red stands for courage, blue represents freedom, and white signifies purity

National symbol(s)

Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars); national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem

name: "O le Fu'a o le Sa'olotoga o Samoa" (The Banner of Freedom)

lyrics/music: Sauni Liga KURESA

note: adopted 1962; also known as "Samoa Tula'i" (Samoa Arise)

Economy

Economy - overview

The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, tourism, agriculture, and fishing. It has a nominal GDP of $780 million. Agriculture, including fishing, employs roughly two-thirds of the labor force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring fish, coconut oil, nonu products, and taro. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 1,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia, and is responsible for 65% of total exports. Industry accounts for nearly 15% of GDP while employing less than 6% of the work force. The service sector accounts for nearly three-quarters of GDP and employs approximately 50% of the labor force. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 132,000 tourists visited the islands in 2013. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. In late September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami severely damaged Samoa, and nearby American Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. In December 2012, extensive flooding and wind damage from Tropical Cyclone Evan killed four people, displaced over 6,000, and damaged or destroyed an estimated 1,500 homes in Samoa's Upolu Island. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state and inflation is low, but the external debt is approximately 55% of GDP. Samoa became the 155th member of the WTO in May 2012, and graduated from least developed country (LDC) status in January 2014.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 204/230

$1.033 billion (2015 est.)

$1.007 billion (2014 est.)

$987.9 million (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$867 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 116/225

2.6% (2015 est.)

1.9% (2014 est.)

-1.1% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 164/230

$5,400 (2015 est.)

$5,200 (2014 est.)

$5,200 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 10.9%

industry: 28.3%

services: 60.8% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

coconuts, nonu, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa

Industries

food processing, building materials, auto parts

Industrial production growth rate 191/202

-5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 194/233

49,180 (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 65%

industry: NA%

services: NA%

Unemployment rate

NA%

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $234.8 million

expenditures: $234.8 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 102/219

27.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 30/220

0% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

June 1 - May 31

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 80/226

1.4% (2015 est.)

-0.4% (2014 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 86/184

9.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

10% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 185/192

$114.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$113.8 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 187/193

$366 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$318.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 176/191

$414.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$371.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Current account balance 62/197

-$59 million (2015 est.)

-$66 million (2014 est.)

Exports 209/224

$24 million (2013 est.)

$24 million (2013 est.)

Exports - commodities

fish, coconut oil and cream, nonu, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer

Exports - partners

American Samoa 56.8%, Australia 18.3% (2014)

Imports 195/223

$325.3 million (2013 est.)

$325.3 million (2013 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

Fiji 21.5%, NZ 20.5%, China 13.6%, South Korea 8.1%, Australia 5.9%, US 5.6%, Singapore 5.6% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 163/170

$140.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$170.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Debt - external 181/206

$447.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)

$422.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

tala (SAT) per US dollar -

2.56 (2015 est.)

2.33 (2014 est.)

2.33 (2013 est.)

2.29 (2012 est.)

2.32 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 199/220

97.2 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 200/219

90.4 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 216/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 218/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 194/214

42,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 104/214

71.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 210/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 81/214

28.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 145/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 211/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 211/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 146/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 212/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 148/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 199/212

1,100 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 148/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 194/213

1,150 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 149/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 212/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 209/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 82/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 209/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 199/212

161,000 Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 196/219

total subscriptions: 11,800

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 6 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 190/217

total: 106,500

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 54 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 100 telephones per 100 persons

international: country code - 685; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2007)

Broadcast media

state-owned TV station privatized in 2008; 4 privately owned television broadcast stations; about a half dozen privately owned radio stations and one state-owned radio station; TV and radio broadcasts of several stations from American Samoa are available (2009)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 2, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)

Television broadcast stations

2 (2002)

Internet country code

.ws

Internet hosts 120/232

18,013 (2012)

Internet users 198/217

total: 27,600

percent of population: 14.1% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 188/236

4 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3

under 914 m: 3 (2013)

Roadways 173/223

total: 2,337 km

paved: 332 km

unpaved: 2,005 km (2001)

Merchant marine 145/156

total: 2

by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 1

foreign-owned: 1 (NZ 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Apia

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force (2008)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none