Tonga

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Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.

Geography

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

Area 190/257

total: 747 sq km

land: 717 sq km

water: 30 sq km

Area - comparative

four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

419 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

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

Terrain

mostly flat islands with limestone bedrock formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic rock

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed elevation on Kao Island 1,033 m

Natural resources

fish, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 43.1%

arable land 22.2%; permanent crops 15.3%; permanent pasture 5.6%

forest: 12.5%

other: 44.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

NA

Natural hazards

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

volcanism: moderate volcanic activity; Fonualei (elev. 180 m) has shown frequent activity in recent years, while Niuafo'ou (elev. 260 m), which last erupted in 1985, has forced evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Late and Tofua

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Tongan(s)

adjective: Tongan

Ethnic groups

Tongan 96.6%, part-Tongan 1.7%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.03% (2006 est.)

Languages

English and Tongan 87%, Tongan (official) 10.7%, English (official) 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 0.03% (2006 est.)

Religions

Protestant 64.9% (includes Free Wesleyan Church 37.3%, Free Church of Tonga 11.4%, Church of Tonga 7.2%, Tokaikolo Christian Church 2.6%, Assembly of God 2.3% Seventh Day Adventist 2.2%, Constitutional Church of Tonga .9%, Anglican .8% and Full Gospel Church .2%), Mormon 16.8%, Roman Catholic 15.6%, other 1.1%, none 0.03%, unspecified 1.7% (2006 est.)

Population 192/238

106,501 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 35.06% (male 18,971/female 18,370)

15-24 years: 19.44% (male 10,605/female 10,103)

25-54 years: 33.6% (male 17,880/female 17,901)

55-64 years: 5.61% (male 2,924/female 3,047)

65 years and over: 6.29% (male 3,050/female 3,650) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 74.3%

youth dependency ratio: 64.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 10.2%

potential support ratio: 9.8% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 22.3 years

male: 21.9 years

female: 22.8 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 190/233

0.03% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 66/224

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

Death rate 192/225

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

Net migration rate 219/222

-17.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 23.7% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.71% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

NUKU'ALOFA 25,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

24.9

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49 (2012 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 66/184

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

Infant mortality rate 123/224

total: 11.96 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 12.38 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 89/224

total population: 76.04 years

male: 74.53 years

female: 77.59 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 48/224

3.26 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 129/191

4.7% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.56 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

2.6 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99.7% of population

rural: 99.6% of population

total: 99.6% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.3% of population

rural: 0.4% of population

total: 0.4% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 97.6% of population

rural: 89% of population

total: 91% of population

unimproved:

urban: 2.4% of population

rural: 11% of population

total: 9% 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 5/191

41.1% (2014)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga

conventional short form: Tonga

local long form: Pule'anga Tonga

local short form: Tonga

former: Friendly Islands

Government type

constitutional monarchy

Capital

name: Nuku'alofa

geographic coordinates: 21.08° S, 175.12° W

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

Administrative divisions

5 island divisions; 'Eua, Ha'apai, Ongo Niua, Tongatapu, Vava'u

Independence

4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)

National holiday

National Day, 4 November (1875)

Constitution

adopted 4 November 1875, revised 1988; amended several times, last in 2014 (2015)

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Tonga; if a child is born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen of Tonga

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

21 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King TUPOU VI (since 18 March 2012); note - on 18 March 2012, King George TUPOU V died and his brother, Crown Prince TUPOUTO'A Lavaka, assumed the throne as TUPOU VI

head of government: Prime Minister 'Akilisi POHIVA (since 30 December 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly and appointed by the monarch; election last held on 21 December 2010 (next to be held in November 2014)

election results: 'Akilisi POHIVA (Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands) elected prime minister by parliament on 29 December 2014; vote - 15 of 26 votes

note: a Privy Council advises the monarch

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (26 seats; 17 people's representatives directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 9 indirectly elected by hereditary leaders; members serve 3-year terms)

elections: last held on 27 November 2014 (next to be held in 2017)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 9, noble's representatives 9, independent 8

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and a number of judges determined by the monarch); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are brought before the King in Privy Council, the monarch's advisory organ that has both judicial and legislative powers

judge selection and term of office: judge appointments and tenures made by the King in Privy Council, judge appointments subject to consent of the Legislative Assembly

subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Magistrate's Courts; Land Courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands [Samuela 'Akilisi POHIVA]

People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tesina FUKO]

Sustainable Nation-Building Party [Sione FONUA]

Tonga Democratic Labor Party

Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement or THRDM

Political pressure groups and leaders

Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]

Public Servant's Association [Finau TUTONE]

International organization participation

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

Flag description

red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross reflects the deep-rooted Christianity in Tonga; red represents the blood of Christ and his sacrifice; white signifies purity

National symbol(s)

red cross on white field, arms equal length; national colors: red, white

National anthem

name: "Ko e fasi `o e tu"i `o e `Otu Tonga" (Song of the King of the Tonga Islands)

lyrics/music: Uelingatoni Ngu TUPOUMALOHI/Karl Gustavus SCHMITT

note: in use since 1875; more commonly known as "Fasi Fakafonua" (National Song)

Economy

Economy - overview

Tonga has a small, open, island economy and is the last constitutional monarchy among the Pacific Island countries. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are the main crops. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from overseas Tongans to offset its trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. Tonga had 39,000 visitors in 2006. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, encouraging investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga's English-speaking and educated workforce offer a viable labor market, and the tropical climate provides fertile soil. Renewable energy and deep sea mining also offer opportunities for investment. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well developed social services. The government faces high unemployment among the young, moderate inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 213/230

$520.5 million (2015 est.)

$506.9 million (2014 est.)

$495.5 million (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$443 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 111/225

2.7% (2015 est.)

2.3% (2014 est.)

-0.3% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 166/230

$5,100 (2015 est.)

$4,900 (2014 est.)

$4,800 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 79.9%

government consumption: 21.6%

investment in fixed capital: 40.2%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 18.7%

imports of goods and services: -60.4%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 18.3%

industry: 18.8%

services: 62.9% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, sweet potatoes, cassava, taro and kava

Industries

tourism, construction, fishing

Industrial production growth rate 139/202

1.2% (2015 est.)

Labor force 202/233

33,800 (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 27.5%

industry: 27.5%

services: 2,006% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate 6/207

1.1% (2011 est.)

1.1% (2006)

Population below poverty line

24% (FY03/04 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $146.3 million

expenditures: $146.3 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 74/219

33% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 32/220

0% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 99/176

45.1% of GDP (2013)

46.5% of GDP (2012)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 42/226

0.2% (2015 est.)

2.5% (2014 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 101/184

8.6% (31 December 2015 est.)

8.89% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 188/192

$83.91 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$95.17 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 190/193

$198.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$195.1 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 183/191

$106.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$121.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Current account balance 57/197

-$26 million (2015 est.)

-$14 million (2014 est.)

Exports 206/224

$29.4 million (2015 est.)

$38.8 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops

Exports - partners

NZ 16.7%, US 15.6%, Fiji 11.2%, Japan 10.3%, Samoa 9.5%, South Korea 9%, Australia 7.9%, American Samoa 6%, Belgium 5.6% (2014)

Imports 209/223

$151.9 million (2015 est.)

$152.7 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners

Fiji 35%, NZ 20.5%, China 10.8%, US 9.1%, Japan 5%, Australia 4.3% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 162/170

$166.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$158.8 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 189/206

$215 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$198.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 118/120

$76.97 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$73.97 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

pa'anga (TOP) per US dollar -

2.05 (2015 est.)

1.85 (2014 est.)

1.85 (2013 est.)

1.72 (2012 est.)

1.73 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 208/220

48 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 208/219

44.64 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 203/218

0 kWh (2013)

Electricity - imports 208/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 206/214

14,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 31/214

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 190/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 207/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 132/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 197/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 196/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 133/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 198/215

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 135/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 198/212

1,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 136/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 193/213

1,202 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 135/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 199/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 192/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 140/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 199/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 196/212

188,800 Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 195/219

total subscriptions: 12,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 197/217

total: 68,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 64 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT granted approval to introduce high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television while TCC has exclusive rights to operate the mobile-phone network; international telecom services are provided by government-owned Tonga Telecommunications International

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity about 80 telephones per 100 persons; fully automatic switched network

international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

2 state-owned TV stations and 2 privately owned TV stations; satellite and cable TV services are available; 2 state-owned and 3 privately owned radio stations; Radio Australia broadcasts available via satellite (2009)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

3 (2004)

Internet country code

.to

Internet hosts 144/232

5,367 (2012)

Internet users 191/217

total: 40,400

percent of population: 37.9% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 177/236

6 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

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

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways 190/223

total: 680 km

paved: 184 km

unpaved: 496 km (2011)

Merchant marine 122/156

total: 7

by type: cargo 4, carrier 1, passenger/cargo 2

foreign-owned: 2 (Australia 1, UK 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Nuku'alofa, Neiafu, Pangai

Military and Security

Military branches

Tonga Defense Services (TDS): Land Force (Royal Guard), Maritime Force (includes Royal Marines, Air Wing) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

16 years of age for voluntary enlistment (with parental consent); no conscription; the king retains the right to call up "all those capable of bearing arms" in wartime (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none