General Information

Samoa is a country comprising the westernmost group of the Samoan Islands, in Polynesia. Many of its islands have reef-bordered beaches and rugged, rain forested interiors with gorges and waterfalls. The islands include Upolu, home to most of Samoa’s population, and Savai’i, one of the largest islands in the South Pacific. Smaller islands may have small villages or be uninhabited, some with wildlife sanctuaries.

Population

Samoa has a population of 192,342

Political Structure

The 1960 constitution, which formally came into force with independence from New Zealand in 1962, builds on the British pattern of parliamentary democracy, modified to take account of Samoan customs. The national modern Government of Samoa is referred to as the Malo. Fiame Mata’afa Faumuina Mulinu’u II, one of the four highest-ranking paramount chiefs in the country, became Samoa’s first Prime Minister. Two other paramount chiefs at the time of independence were appointed joint heads of state for life. Tupua Tamasese Mea’ole died in 1963, leaving Malietoa Tanumafili II sole head of state until his death on 11 May 2007, upon which Samoa changed from a constitutional monarchy to a parliamentary republic de facto. The next Head of State, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, was elected by the legislature on 17 June 2007 for a fixed five-year term, and was re-elected unopposed in July 2012.

Infrastructure and Economy

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2006 was estimated at $1.218 billion USD. The industrial sector is the largest component of GDP at 58.4%, followed by the services sector at 30.2% (2004 est.). Agriculture represents only 11.4% of GDP (2004 est.). The Samoan labour force is estimated at 90,000. The country currency is the Samoan tālā, issued and regulated by the Central Bank of Samoa. The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on agriculture and fishing at the local level. In modern times, development aid, private family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports have become key factors in the nation’s economy. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (juice of the nonu fruit, as it is known in Samoan), and copra.

Languages

Samoa’s official languages include: English and Samoan

Currency

Tala (WST)

Exchange Controls

Samoa does not have exchange controls

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