[Country map of Western Samoa]

Western Samoa


Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Map references: Oceania

total area: 2,860 sq km
land area: 2,850 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Rhode Island

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 403 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical; rainy season (October to March), dry season (May to October)

Terrain: narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior

Natural resources: hardwood forests, fish

Land use:
arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 24%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 47%
other: 10%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: soil erosion
natural hazards: occasional typhoons; active volcanism
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea


Population: 209,360 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 40% (female 41,503; male 42,844)
15-64 years: 56% (female 55,683; male 61,065)
65 years and over: 4% (female 4,323; male 3,942) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.37% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 31.74 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 5.88 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 35.5 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.38 years
male: 65.99 years
female: 70.88 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.04 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Western Samoan(s)
adjective: Western Samoan

Ethnic divisions: Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7% (persons of European and Polynesian blood), Europeans 0.4%

Religions: 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)

Languages: Samoan (Polynesian), English

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1971)
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 97%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: agriculture 60%


conventional long form: Independent State of Western Samoa
conventional short form: Western Samoa

Digraph: WS

Type: constitutional monarchy under native chief

Capital: Apia

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

Independence: 1 January 1962 (from UN trusteeship administered by New Zealand)

National holiday: National Day, 1 June (1962)

Constitution: 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

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Chief Susuga Malietoa TANUMAFILI II (Co-Chief of State from 1 January 1962 until becoming sole Chief of State on 5 April 1963)
head of government: Prime Minister TOFILAU Eti Alesana (since 7 April 1988)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the head of state with the prime minister's advice

Legislative branch: unicameral
Legislative Assembly (Fono): elections last held 5 April 1991 (next to be held by NA 1996); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (47 total) HRPP 28, SNDP 18, independents 1
note: only matai (head of family) are able to run for the Legislative Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP), TOFILAU Eti Alesana, chairman; Samoan National Development Party (SNDP), TAPUA Tamasese Efi, chairman


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni SLADE
chancery: 820 Second Avenue, Suite 800, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196, 6197
FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: the ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Western Samoa
embassy: 5th floor, Beach Road, Apia
mailing address: P.O. Box 3430, Apia
telephone: [685] 21631
FAX: [685] 22030

Flag: red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation


Overview: Agriculture employs more than half of the labor force, contributes 50% to GDP, and furnishes 90% of exports. The bulk of export earnings comes from the sale of coconut oil and copra. The economy depends on emigrant remittances and foreign aid to support a level of imports much greater than export earnings. Tourism has become the most important growth industry. The economy continued to falter in 1994, as remittances and tourist earnings remained low. Production of taro, the primary food export crop, has dropped 97% since a fungal disease struck the crop in 1993. The rapid growth in 1994 of the giant African snail population in Western Samoa is also threatening the country's basic food crops, such as bananas and coconuts.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $400 million (1992 est.)

National product real growth rate: -4.3% (1992 est.)

National product per capita: $2,000 (1992 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $95.3 million
expenditures: $76.7 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994 est.)

Exports: $6.4 million (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: coconut oil and cream, taro, copra, cocoa
partners: New Zealand 34%, American Samoa 21%, Germany 18%, Australia 11%

Imports: $11.5 million (c.i.f., 1992 est.)
commodities: intermediate goods 58%, food 17%, capital goods 12%
partners: New Zealand 37%, Australia 25%, Japan 11%, Fiji 9%

External debt: $141 million (June 1993)

Industrial production: growth rate -0.3% (1992 est.); accounts for 16% of GDP

capacity: 29,000 kW
production: 50 million kWh
consumption per capita: 200 kWh (1993)

Industries: timber, tourism, food processing, fishing

Agriculture: accounts for about 50% of GDP; coconuts, fruit (including bananas, taro, yams)

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $18 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $306 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $4 million

Currency: 1 tala (WS$) = 100 sene

Exchange rates: tala (WS$) per US$1 - 2.4600 (January 1995), 2.5349 (1994), 2.5681 (1993), 2.4655 (1992), 2.3975 (1991), 2.3095 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 2,042 km
paved: 375 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone, earth 1,667 km

Ports: Apia, Asau, Mulifanua, Salelologa

Merchant marine:
total: 1 roll-on/roll-off cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,838 GRT/5,536 DWT

total: 3
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 2


Telephone system: 7,500 telephones
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 INTELSAT (Pacific Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: 70,000

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: no regular armed services; Western Samoa Police Force

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP