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Flag of Samoa
Map of Samoa
Introduction Samoa
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
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:
total: 2,944 sq km
land: 2,934 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
403 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October)
two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mauga Silisili (Savaii) 1,857 m
Natural resources:
hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 21.13%
permanent crops: 24.3%
other: 54.57% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons; active volcanism
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
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
occupies an almost central position within Polynesia
People Samoa
176,908 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.1% (male 23,492/female 22,653)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 74,202/female 44,894)
65 years and over: 6.6% (male 5,299/female 6,368) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 25.2 years
male: 28.1 years
female: 22 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.2% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
16.43 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
6.62 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-11.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.65 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.39 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 26.85 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 31.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71 years
male: 68.2 years
female: 73.94 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.94 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Samoan(s)
adjective: Samoan
Ethnic groups:
Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7% (persons of European and Polynesian blood), Europeans 0.4%
Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, other Christian 4.5%, Worship Centre 1.3%, other 1.7%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
Samoan (Polynesian), English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.6%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)
Government Samoa
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
Government type:
mix of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
name: Apia
geographic coordinates: 13 50 S, 171 45W
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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
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, however it is observed in June
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
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Malietoa TANUMAFILI II (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 1996); note - TUILA'EPA served as deputy prime minister from 1992 and assumed the duties of acting prime minister in 1996, when former Prime Minister TOFILAU Eti Alesana resigned in poor health; TUILA'EPA was confirmed as prime minister (November 1998) after TOFILAU died; Deputy Prime Minister MISA Telefoni (since 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 12 members, appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice
elections: upon the death of Malietoa TANUMAFILI II, a new chief of state will be elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term (no term limits); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state with the approval of the Legislative Assembly
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats - 47 elected by voters affiliated with traditional village-based electoral districts, 2 elected by independent, mostly non-Samoan or part-Samoan, voters who cannot, (or choose not to) establish a village affiliation; only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Fono from the 47 village-based electorates; members serve five-year terms)
elections: election last held 31 March 2006 (next election to be held not later than March 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - HRPP 35, SDUP 10, independents 4
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal; Supreme Court; District Court; Land and Titles Court
Political parties and leaders:
Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA]; Samoa Christian Party or TCP [Tuala Tiresa MALIETOA]; Samoa Democratic United Party or SDUP [LE MAMEA Ropati]; Samoa Party or SP [Su'a Rimoni Ah CHONG]; Samoa Progressive Political Party or SPPP [Toeolesulusulu SIUEVA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi ELISAIA
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196, 6197
FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: US Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
embassy: Accident Compensation Board (ACB) Building, 5th Floor, Beach Road, Apia
mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Apia, 0815
telephone: [685] 21436/21452/21631/22696
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, agriculture, and fishing. 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 fish catch declined during the El Nino of 2002-03, but returned to normal by mid-2005. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 3,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting for 25% of GDP; about 100,000 tourists visited the islands in 2005. 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. 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):
$1 billion (2002 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$399 million (2005)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,100 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.4%
industry: 58.4%
services: 30.2% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
90,000 (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.3% (2005)
revenues: $171.3 million
expenditures: $78.1 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (FY04/05 est.)
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa
food processing, building materials, auto parts
Industrial production growth rate:
2.8% (2000)
Electricity - production:
108 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 58%
hydro: 42%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
100.5 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$-2.428 million (FY03/04)
$94 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer
Exports - partners:
Australia 75.9%, American Samoa 13.6%, US 6.5% (2005)
$285 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
NZ 31%, Australia 22.6%, US 13.5%, Japan 7.5%, Fiji 6%, China 4.6% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$70.15 million (FY03/04)
Debt - external:
$177 million (2004)
Economic aid - recipient:
$30.8 million (2004)
Currency (code):
tala (SAT)
Currency code:
SAT (former WST code is still in wide use)
Exchange rates:
tala per US dollar - 2.7103 (2005), 2.7807 (2004), 2.9732 (2003), 3.3763 (2002)
Fiscal year:
June 1 - May 31
Communications Samoa
Telephones - main lines in use:
13,300 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
24,000 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate
domestic: NA
international: country code - 685; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)
174,849 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
2 (2002)
8,634 (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
10,680 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
6,000 (2004)
Transportation Samoa
4 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
total: 2,337 km
paved: 332 km
unpaved: 2,005 km (2004)
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 7,091 GRT/8,127 DWT
by type: cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Germany 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Military Samoa
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 58,722 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 45,294 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 2,306 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
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:

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007