[Country map of Vanuatu]



Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Map references: Oceania

total area: 14,760 sq km
land area: 14,760 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Connecticut
note: includes more than 80 islands

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 2,528 km

Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds

Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains

Natural resources: manganese, hardwood forests, fish

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 5%
meadows and pastures: 2%
forest and woodland: 1%
other: 91%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: a majority of the population does not have access to a potable and reliable supply of water
natural hazards: tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea


Population: 173,648 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 41% (female 34,819; male 36,128)
15-64 years: 56% (female 47,320; male 50,456)
65 years and over: 3% (female 2,217; male 2,708) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.22% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 31.26 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 9.06 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 66.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 59.71 years
male: 57.9 years
female: 61.61 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.14 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural)
adjective: Ni-Vanuatu

Ethnic divisions: indigenous Melanesian 94%, French 4%, Vietnamese, Chinese, Pacific Islanders

Religions: Presbyterian 36.7%, Anglican 15%, Catholic 15%, indigenous beliefs 7.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6.2%, Church of Christ 3.8%, other 15.7%

Languages: English (official), French (official), pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama)

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1979)
total population: 53%
male: 57%
female: 48%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: NA


conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu
conventional short form: Vanuatu
former: New Hebrides

Digraph: NH

Type: republic

Capital: Port-Vila

Administrative divisions: 6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea, Torba

Independence: 30 July 1980 (from France and UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 30 July (1980)

Constitution: 30 July 1980

Legal system: unified system being created from former dual French and British systems

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jean Marie LEYE (since 2 March 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Maxime CARLOT Korman (since 16 December 1991); Deputy Prime Minister Sethy REGENVANU (since 17 December 1991)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the prime minister, responsible to parliament

Legislative branch: unicameral
Parliament: elections last held 2 December 1991 (next to be held NA November 1995); note - after election, a coalition was formed by the Union of Moderate Parties and the National United Party to form a new government on 16 December 1991, but political party associations are fluid; results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (46 total) UMP 19, NUP 10, VP 10, MPP 4, TUP 1, Nagriamel 1, Friend 1
note: the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of custom and land

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Vanuatu Party (VP), Donald KALPOKAS; Union of Moderate Parties (UMP), Maxime CARLOT Korman; Melanesian Progressive Party (MPP), Barak SOPE; National United Party (NUP), Walter LINI; Tan Union Party (TUP), Vincent BOULEKONE; Nagriamel Party, Jimmy STEVENS; Friend Melanesian Party, leader NA; People's Democratic Party (PDP), Sethy REGENVANU
note: the VP, MPP, TUP, and Nagriamel Party have formed a coalition called the United Front (UF) heading into the November 1995 elections


Diplomatic representation in US: Vanuatu does not have a mission in the US

US diplomatic representation: the ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu

Flag: two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) all separated by a black-edged yellow stripe in the shape of a horizontal Y (the two points of the Y face the hoist side and enclose the triangle); centered in the triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele leaves, all in yellow


Overview: The economy is based primarily on subsistence farming which provides a living for about 80% of the population. Fishing and tourism are the other mainstays of the economy, with 43,000 visitors in 1992. 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.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $200 million (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $1,200 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.3% (1992 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $90 million
expenditures: $103 million, including capital expenditures of $45 million (1989 est.)

Exports: $14.9 million (f.o.b., 1991)
commodities: copra, beef, cocoa, timber, coffee
partners: Netherlands, Japan, France, New Caledonia, Belgium

Imports: $74 million (f.o.b., 1991)
commodities: machines and vehicles, food and beverages, basic manufactures, raw materials and fuels, chemicals
partners: Australia 36%, Japan 13%, NZ 10%, France 8%, Fiji 8%

External debt: $40 million (yearend 1992)

Industrial production: growth rate 8.1% (1990); accounts for about 10% of GDP

capacity: 17,000 kW
production: 30 million kWh
consumption per capita: 181 kWh (1993)

Industries: food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning

Agriculture: export crops - coconuts, cocoa, coffee, fish; subsistence crops - taro, yams, coconuts, fruits, vegetables

Economic aid:
recipient: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $606 million

Currency: 1 vatu (VT) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: vatu (VT) per US$1 - 112.42 (December 1994), 116.41 (1994), 121.58 (1993), 113.39 (1992), 111.68 (1991), 116.57 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 1,027 km
paved: 240 km
unpaved: 787 km

Ports: Forari, Port-Vila, Santo (Espiritu Santo)

Merchant marine:
total: 116 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,874,698 GRT/2,758,783 DWT
ships by type: bulk 52, cargo 18, chemical tanker 3, combination bulk 1, container 4, liquefied gas tanker 5, livestock carrier 1, oil tanker 5, refrigerated cargo 17, vehicle carrier 10
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes 21 countries among which are ships of the US 117, Japan 39, Netherlands 12, China 11, UAE 6, Greece 6, Canada 6, Hong Kong 4, Russia 2, Australia 2

total: 31
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 17
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 11


Telephone system: 3,000 telephones
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 INTELSAT (Pacific Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: no regular military forces; Vanuatu Police Force (VPF; includes the paramilitary Vanuatu Mobile Force or VMF)

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP