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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

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

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
13 35 S, 172 20 W

Natural resources:
hardwood forests, fish, hydropower

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mauga Silisili (Savaii) 1,857 m

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

Geography - note:
occupies an almost central position within Polynesia

total: 2,944 sq km
land: 2,934 sq km
water: 10 sq km

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

403 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Rhode Island

Irrigated land:

Environment - current issues:
soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons; active volcanism

Land use:
arable land: 21.13%
permanent crops: 24.3%
other: 54.57% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
4.18 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: 1.1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.58 years
male: 68.76 years
female: 74.55 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.6%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-9.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 20.6 years
male: 20.8 years
female: 20.4 years (2008 est.)

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 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4.3% of GDP (2002)

Population growth rate:
1.322% (2008 est.)

Samoan (Polynesian), English

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

Infant mortality rate:
total: 25.04 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 29.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.29 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2001)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.9% (male 41,834/female 40,343)
15-64 years: 56.5% (male 64,402/female 58,257)
65 years and over: 5.6% (male 5,481/female 6,766) (2008 est.)

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

Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, Worship Centre 1.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)

noun: Samoan(s)
adjective: Samoan

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: none; US Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
embassy: Accident Corporation Building, 5th Floor, Matafele, Apia
mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Matafele, Apia
telephone: [685] 21436/21631/21452/22696
FAX: [685] 22030

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

21 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:

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

International organization participation:

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

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

Flag description:
red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation

1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)

Country name (Goverment):
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

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]

name: Apia
geographic coordinates: 13 50 S, 171 44 W
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

1 January 1962

Executive branch:
chief of state: TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 20 June 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA (since 1998); 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: chief of state is elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term (no term limits); election last held 15 June 2007 (next to be held in 2012); 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
election results: TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly

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

Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal; Supreme Court; District Court; Land and Titles Court

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Australia 48.1%, American Samoa 30%, Taiwan 8% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
101.4 million kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$24 million (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$177 million (2004)

Unemployment rate:

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$5,000 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$215.1 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.082 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$537 million (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
tala (SAT) per US dollar - NA (2007), 2.7594 (2006), 2.7103 (2005), 2.7807 (2004), 2.9732 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
3.1% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$69.97 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
90,000 (2000 est.)

Imports - partners:
NZ 22.1%, Fiji 17.2%, Singapore 16.1%, Australia 7.9%, Japan 6.8%, Indonesia 5.4%, US 5.3% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.6%
industry: 13.1%
services: 75.3% (2004 est.)

Oil - imports:
1,128 bbl/day (2005)

$131 million f.o.b. (2006)

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

Currency (code):
tala (SAT)

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; 122,000 tourists visited the islands in 2007. 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.

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

Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs

food processing, building materials, auto parts

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12.65% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$168.7 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
109 million kWh (2006 est.)

$324 million f.o.b. (2006)

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

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

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

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$70.15 million (FY03/04)

Oil - consumption:
1,130 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:
SAT (former WST code is still in wide use)

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

Exports - commodities:
fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer

Economic aid - recipient:
$43.95 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 58%
hydro: 42%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

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

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

revenues: $171.3 million
expenditures: $78.1 million (FY04/05 est.)

Fiscal year:
June 1 - May 31

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

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
8,000 (2006)

Telephones - main lines in use:
19,500 (2005)

8,634 (1999)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)

174,849 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
86,000 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
2 (2002)

Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 50 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 685; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)

Internet hosts:
11,307 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:

Merchant marine:
total: 1
by type: cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Cyprus 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)

total: 2,337 km
paved: 332 km
unpaved: 2,005 km (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

4 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 53,417 (2008 est.)

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

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 42,359 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 2,571
female: 2,454 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

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