Population: 215,446 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 12,200 sq km
Currency: vatu (VUV)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $3,900 (2007 est.)
Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides in the millennia preceding European exploration in the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.
Economy – Overview
This South Pacific island economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with more than 60,000 visitors in 2005, are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002 the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism through improved air connections, resort development, and cruise ship facilities. Agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a second target for growth. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of tourists and foreign aid.
Major Export Commodities: copra, beef, cocoa, timber, kava, coffee
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2007/2008 Ranking: 120 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $ 41.43 million. Major development partners include Australia, France, the European Community, and New Zealand.
Total External Debt: US $81.2 million (2004)
United Nations membership date: 15 September 1981
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B
New York, NY 10017
Fax: 212-422-3427 / 661-5544
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