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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
water: 10 sq km
land: 2,934 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
403 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; rainy season (October to March), dry season (May to October)
narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mauga Silisili 1,857 m
Natural resources:
hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 19.43%
permanent crops: 23.67%
other: 56.9% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons; active volcanism
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
occupies an almost central position within Polynesia
People Samoa
178,631 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.6% (male 27,774; female 26,854)
15-64 years: 63.5% (male 71,358; female 42,150)
65 years and over: 5.9% (male 4,859; female 5,636) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.25% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
15.53 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.35 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-11.64 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.69 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.39 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
30.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.8 years
female: 72.69 years (2002 est.)
male: 67.06 years
Total fertility rate:
3.3 children born/woman (2002 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%
Christian 99.7% (about one-half of population associated with the London Missionary Society; includes Congregational, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventist)
Samoan (Polynesian), English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 80%
male: 81%
female: 79% (1999)
Government Samoa
Country name:
conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa
conventional short form: Samoa
former: Western Samoa
Government type:
constitutional monarchy under native chief
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, 1 June 1962 is the date that independence is celebrated
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: Chief Tanumafili II MALIETOA (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 24 November 1998); note - TUILA'EPA served as deputy prime minister from 1992 until he assumed the prime ministership in November 1998, when former Prime Minister TOFILAU Eti Alesana resigned in poor health; the post of deputy prime minister is currently vacant
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 12 members, appointed by the chief of state with the prime minister's advice
elections: upon the death of Chief Tanumafili II MALIETOA, a new chief of state will be elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term; 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 Samoans, 2 elected by non-Samoans; only chiefs or matai may stand for election to the Fono; members serve five-year terms)
elections: byelection last held NA November 2001 (next byelection to be held 29 March 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - HRPP 30, SNDP 13, independents 6
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Party [leader NA]; Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA, chairman]; Samoa All People's Party or SAPP [Matatumua NAIMOAGA]; Samoan National Development Party or SNDP [LE MAMEA Ropati, chairman] (opposition); Samoa National Party [FETU Tiatia, party secretary]; Samoan Progressive Conservative Party [LEOTA Ituau Ale]; Samoan United Independent Party or SUIP [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni SLADE
FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196, 6197
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: the Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
embassy: 5th floor John Williams Building, Beach Road, Apia
mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Apia
telephone: [685] 21631
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, and agricultural exports. 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 manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. The decline of fish stocks in the area is a continuing problem. Tourism is an expanding sector, accounting for 16% of GDP; about 85,000 tourists visited the islands in 2000. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. 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.
purchasing power parity - $618 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 16%
industry: 18%
services: 66% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
90,000 (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 65%, services 30%, industry 5% (1995 est.)
Unemployment rate:
NA%; note - substantial underemployment
revenues: $105 million
expenditures: $119 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001/2002)
food processing, building materials, auto parts
Industrial production growth rate:
2.8% (2000)
Electricity - production:
103 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 59%
hydro: 41%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
95.79 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
coconuts, bananas, taro, yams
$17 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities:
fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, garments, beer
Exports - partners:
Australia 62%, Indonesia 13%, US 11%, American Samoa 3%, New Zealand 3% (2000)
$90 million f.o.b. (2000)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Australia 27%, US 26%, New Zealand 14%, Fiji 12%, Japan 9% (2000)
Debt - external:
$192 million (1999)
Economic aid - recipient:
$42.9 million (1995) (1995)
tala (WST)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
tala per US dollar - 3.5236 (January 2002), 3.4722 (2001), 3.2712 (2000), 3.0120 (1999), 2.9429 (1998), 2.5562 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Samoa
Telephones - main lines in use:
8,183 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,545 (February 1998)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)
174,849 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
6 (1997)
8,634 (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
3,000 (2002)
Transportation Samoa
0 km
total: 836 km
paved: 267 km
unpaved: 569 km (1983)
Ports and harbors:
Apia, Asau, Mulifanua, Salelologa
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,091 GRT/ 8,127 DWT
ships by type: cargo 1
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1 (2002 est.)
3 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Samoa
Military branches:
no regular armed services; Samoa Police Force
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 19 March 2003