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Flag of Solomon Islands
Map of Solomon Islands
Introduction Solomon Islands
The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on these islands. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society.
Geography Solomon Islands
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
Geographic coordinates:
8 00 S, 159 00 E
Map references:
total: 28,450 sq km
water: 910 sq km
land: 27,540 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
0 km
5,313 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM
tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather
mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m
Natural resources:
fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel
Land use:
arable land: 1.5%
permanent crops: 0.64%
other: 97.86% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earth tremors; volcanic activity
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea
People Solomon Islands
494,786 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 43.4% (male 109,339; female 105,170)
15-64 years: 53.5% (male 134,125; female 130,804)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 7,467; female 7,881) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.91% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
33.26 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
4.19 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
23.68 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.82 years
female: 74.39 years (2002 est.)
male: 69.38 years
Total fertility rate:
4.5 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Solomon Islander(s)
adjective: Solomon Islander
Ethnic groups:
Melanesian 93%, Polynesian 4%, Micronesian 1.5%, European 0.8%, Chinese 0.3%, other 0.4%
Anglican 45%, Roman Catholic 18%, United (Methodist/Presbyterian) 12%, Baptist 9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 7%, other Protestant 5%, indigenous beliefs 4%
Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English is official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population
note: 120 indigenous languages
definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Solomon Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Solomon Islands
former: British Solomon Islands
Government type:
parliamentary democracy tending toward anarchy
Administrative divisions:
9 provinces and 1 capital territory*; Central, Choiseul (Lauru), Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Rennell/Bellona, Temotu, Western
7 July 1978 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 7 July (1978)
7 July 1978
Legal system:
English common law, which is widely disregarded
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir John LAPLI (since NA 1999)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of Parliament for up to five years; 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
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 20 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of Parliament
head of government: Prime Minister Allan KEMAKEZA (since 17 December 2001); Deputy Prime Minister Snyder RINI (since 17 December 2001)
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members elected from single-member constituencies by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - PAP 40%, SIACC 40%, PPP 20%; seats by party - PAP 16, SIACC 13, PPP 2, SILP 1, independents 18
elections: last held 5 December 2001 (next to be held by December 2005)
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:
Association of Independents [Snyder RINI]; People's Alliance Party or PAP [Allan KEMAKEZA]; People's Progressive Party or PPP [Mannaseh Damukana SOGAVARE]; Solomon Islands Alliance for Change Coalition or SIACC [Bartholomew ULUFA'ALU]; Solomon Islands Labor Party or SILP [Joses TUHANUKU]
note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jeremiah MANELE
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400L, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6192, 6193
FAX: [1] (212) 661-8925
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
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
Economy Solomon Islands
Economy - overview:
The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of their 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. However, severe ethnic violence, the closing of key business enterprises, and an empty government treasury have led to serious economic disarray, indeed near collapse. Tanker deliveries of crucial fuel supplies (including those for electrical generation) have become sporadic due to the government's inability to pay and attacks against ships. Telecommunications are threatened by the nonpayment of bills and by the lack of technical and maintenance staff many of whom have left the country.
purchasing power parity - $800 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-10% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 42%
industry: 11%
services: 47% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.9% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 75%, industry 5%, services 20% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $38 million (2001)
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001)
fish (tuna), mining, timber
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
32 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
29.76 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
cocoa, beans, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs; timber; fish
$165 million f.o.b. (1999 est.)
Exports - commodities:
timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa
Exports - partners:
Japan 22%, China 15%, Philippines 13%, South Korea 12%, UK 12%, Thailand 5% (2000)
$152 million f.o.b. (1999 est.)
Imports - commodities:
plant and equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animals, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Australia 27%, Singapore 25%, NZ 5.5%, Japan 5.3%, US 5.1% (2000)
Debt - external:
$137 million (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$28 million mainly from Japan, Australia, China, and NZ (2001 est.)
Solomon Islands dollar (SBD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Solomon Islands dollars per US dollar - 5.3728 (December 2001), 5.0889 (2000), 4.8381 (1999), 4.8156 (1998), 3.7169 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Solomon Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
8,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
658 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
57,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
0 (1997)
3,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
8,400 (2002)
Transportation Solomon Islands
0 km
total: 1,360 km
paved: 34 km
unpaved: 1,326 km (includes about 800 km of private plantation roads) (1996 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Aola Bay, Honiara, Lofung, Noro, Viru Harbor, Yandina
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
31 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 20 (2002)
Military Solomon Islands
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Solomon Islands National Reconnaissance and Surveillance Force; Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Solomon Islands
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003