Population: 217,083 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 2,944 sq km
Currency: tala (SAT)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $5,400 (2007 est.)
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.
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; 116,000 tourists visited the islands in 2006. 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.
Major Export Commodities: fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 77 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $38.26 million. Major development partners include Japan, Australia, the IDA and New Zealand.
Total External Debt: US $177 million (2004)
United Nations Membership date: 15 December 1976
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Independent State of Samoa to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400J
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: 212-599-6196, 6197
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008