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Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.

  Geography Back To Top

Total renewable water resources:
44.7 cu km (1987)

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate:
tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather

Map references:
Australia/Oceania

Geographic coordinates:
8 00 S, 159 00 E

Natural resources:
fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m

Terrain:
mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls

Geography - note:
strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara, the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit

Area:
total: 28,450 sq km
land: 27,540 sq km
water: 910 sq km

Location:
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea

Coastline:
5,313 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland

Irrigated land:
NA

Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying

Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis

Land use:
arable land: 0.62%
permanent crops: 2.04%
other: 97.34% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.65 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.44 years
male: 70.9 years
female: 76.1 years (2008 est.)

Literacy:
NA

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Melanesian 94.5%, Polynesian 3%, Micronesian 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 0.2% (1999 census)

Median age:
total: 19.4 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 19.6 years (2008 est.)

Population:
581,318 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (1999)

Population growth rate:
2.467% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English (official; but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population); 120 indigenous languages

Death rate:
3.81 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 19.67 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.36 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 8 years
male: 9 years
female: 8 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 40.1% (male 118,856/female 114,173)
15-64 years: 56.5% (male 166,004/female 162,317)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 9,487/female 10,481) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
28.48 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Church of Melanesia 32.8%, Roman Catholic 19%, South Seas Evangelical 17%, Seventh-Day Adventist 11.2%, United Church 10.3%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.4%, other Christian 4.4%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.2% (1999 census)

Nationality:
noun: Solomon Islander(s)
adjective: Solomon Islander

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Solomon Islands (embassy closed July 1993); the ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands

National holiday:
Independence Day, 7 July (1978)

Suffrage:
21 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM); Malaita Eagle Force (MEF); note - these rival armed ethnic factions crippled the Solomon Islands in a wave of violence from 1999 to 2003

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Collin David BECK
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400L, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6192, 6193
FAX: [1] (212) 661-8925

International organization participation:
ACP, ADB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members elected from single-member constituencies by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 5 April 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - National Party 6.9%, PAP 6.3%, SIPRA 6.3%, Liberal 5%, Democratic 4.9%, SOCRED 4.3%, LAFARI 2.8%, independents 60.3%; seats by party - National Party 4, SIPRA 4, Democratic 3, PAP 3, LAFARI 2, Liberal 2, SOCRED 2, independents 30

Legal system:
English common law, which is widely disregarded; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue with five white five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green

Independence:
7 July 1978 (from UK)

Government - note:
by the end of 2007, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) - originally made up of police and troops from Australia, NZ, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga - had been scaled back to 303 police officers, 197 civilian technical advisers, and 72 military advisers from 15 countries across the region

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Solomon Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Solomon Islands
former: British Solomon Islands

Political parties and leaders:
Association of Independent Members or AIM [Thomas CHAN]; Christian Alliance Solomon Islands or CASI [Edward RONIA]; LAFARI Party [John GARO]; National Party [Francis HILLY]; People's Alliance Party or PAP [Sir Allan KEMAKEZA]; Social Credit Party or SOCRED [Manasseh Damukana SOGAVARE]; Solomon First Party [David QUAN]; Solomon Islands Democratic Party [Gabriel SURI]; Solomon Islands Labor Party or SILP [Joses TUHANUKU]; Solomon Islands Liberal Party [Bartholomew ULUFA'ALU]; Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Job D. TAUSINGA]; United Party [Sir Peter KENILOREA]
note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions

Capital:
name: Honiara
geographic coordinates: 9 26 S, 159 57 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Constitution:
7 July 1978

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Nathaniel WAENA (since 7 July 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Derek SIKUA (since 20 December 2007); note - Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE defeated in a no confidence vote in parliament on 13 December 2007; SIKUA elected on 20 December 2007
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 20 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of Parliament
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of Parliament for up to five years (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by Parliament; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of Parliament

Administrative divisions:
9 provinces and 1 capital territory*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western

Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
China 50.8%, South Korea 7%, Thailand 6.5%, Japan 5.7%, Philippines 4.3% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
70 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$143 million (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$166 million (2004)

Unemployment rate:
NA%

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,900 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$126.9 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.126 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$460 million (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Solomon Islands dollars (SBD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 7.3447 (2006), 7.5299 (2005), 7.4847 (2004), 7.5059 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
10% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$118.3 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
249,200 (1999)

Imports - partners:
Singapore 28.2%, Australia 25.4%, Japan 4.6%, NZ 4.5%, Fiji 4% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.3% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 42%
industry: 11%
services: 47% (2000 est.)

Oil - imports:
1,426 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$237 million f.o.b. (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Solomon Islands dollar (SBD)

Economy - overview:
The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of its livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. Prior to the arrival of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), severe ethnic violence, the closing of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI's efforts to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals

Industries:
fish (tuna), mining, timber

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
14.12% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$57.89 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
70 million kWh (2007 est.)

Imports:
$256 million f.o.b. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 75%
industry: 5%
services: 20% (2000 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
1,320 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:
SBD

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

Exports - commodities:
timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa

Economic aid - recipient:
$198.2 million annually, mainly from Australia (2005 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $49.7 million
expenditures: $75.1 million (2003)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
8,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
7,600 (2006)

Televisions:
3,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.sb

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (2004)

Radios:
57,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
10,900 (2007)

Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 677; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
3,804 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor

Heliports:
3 (2007)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 1,360 km
paved: 33 km
unpaved: 1,327 km
note: includes 800 km of private plantation roads (2002)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 23 (2007)

Airports:
35 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 141,051 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 116,891 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no regular military forces; Solomon Islands Police Force (2009)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 6,924
female: 6,679 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
3% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
since 2003, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, has assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 5,400 (displaced by tsunami on 2 April 2007) (2007)

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