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Map of Vanuatu
Introduction Vanuatu
British and French, who settled New Hebrides in 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered islands until independence in 1980.
Geography Vanuatu
Oceania, group of islands in South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates:
16 00 S, 167 00 E
Map references:
total: 12,200 sq km
land: 12,200 sq km
note: includes more than 80 islands
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
0 km
2,528 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to edge of continental margin
contiguous zone: 24 NM
tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds
mostly mountains of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m
Natural resources:
manganese, hardwood forests, fish
Land use:
arable land: 2.46%
permanent crops: 7.38%
other: 90.16% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis
Environment - current issues:
a majority of population does not have access to a potable and reliable supply of water; deforestation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of islands have active volcanoes
People Vanuatu
Total Population:
199,414 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 34.8% (male 35,499; female 33,992)
15-64 years: 61.8% (male 63,021; female 60,149)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 3,605; female 3,148) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.9 years
male: 22 years
female: 21.8 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.61% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
24.26 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
8.13 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.15 male(s)/female
Population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 58.11 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 55.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 60.76 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 61.71 years
male: 60.28 years
female: 63.21 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.98 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural)
adjective: Ni-Vanuatu
Ethnic groups:
indigenous Melanesian 98%, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, other Pacific Islanders
Presbyterian 36.7%, Anglican 15%, Roman Catholic 15%, indigenous beliefs 7.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6.2%, Church of Christ 3.8%, other 15.7% (including Jon Frum Cargo cult)
three official languages: English, French, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama), plus more than 100 local languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 53%
male: 57%
female: 48% (1979 est.)
Government Vanuatu
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu
conventional short form: Vanuatu
former: New Hebrides
Government type:
parliamentary republic
Administrative divisions:
6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea, Torba
30 July 1980 (from France and UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 30 July (1980)
30 July 1980
Legal system:
unified system being created from former dual French and British systems
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Father John BANI (since 25 March 1999)
elections: president elected for a four-year term by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and presidents of regional councils for a five-year term; election for president last held 25 March 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); following legislative elections, leader of majority party or majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by Parliament from among its members; election for prime minister last held 2 August 2002 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: Father John BANI elected president on second vote (24 March 1999) after first (17 March 1999) did not have any candidate with required two-thirds majority; percent of electoral college vote - NA%
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by prime minister, responsible to Parliament
head of government: Prime Minister Edward Nipake NATAPEI (since 13 April 2001); Deputy Prime Minister Ham LINI (since NA)
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 2 May 2002 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - UMP 15, VP 14, VRP 3, MPP 2, other and independent 18; note - political party associations are fluid
note: National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of custom and land
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by president after consultation with prime minister and leader of opposition, three other justices are appointed by president on advice of Judicial Service Commission)
Political parties and leaders:
Jon Frum Movement [Song KEASPAI]; Melanesian Progressive Party or MPP [Barak SOPE]; National United Party or NUP [Dinh Van THAN]; Union of Moderate Parties or UMP [Serge VOHOR]; Vanuaaku Party (Our Land Party) or VP [Edward NATAPEI]; Vanuatu Republican Party or VRP [Maxime Carlot KORMAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
Vanuatu does not have an embassy in US; it does, however, have a Permanent Mission to UN
Diplomatic representation from US:
US does not have an embassy in Vanuatu; ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a black isosceles triangle (based on hoist side) all separated by a black-edged yellow stripe in shape of a horizontal Y (the two points of Y face hoist side and enclose triangle); centered in triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele leaves, all in yellow
Economy Vanuatu
Economy - overview:
economy is based primarily on subsistence or limited -scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with about 50,000 visitors in 1997, are other mainstays of economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; country has no known petroleum deposits. A limited light industry sector caters to 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. A severe earthquake in November 1999 followed by a tsunami, caused extensive damage to northern island of Pentecote and left thousands homeless. Another powerful earthquake in January 2002 caused extensive damage in capital, Port-Vila, and surrounding areas, and also previously followed by a tsunami. GDP growth rose less than 3% on average in 1990s. In response to foreign concerns, government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002 government stepped up efforts to boost tourism. Australia and New Zealand are main suppliers of foreign aid.
buying power parity - $563 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-0.3% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $2,900 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 26%
industry: 12%
services: 62% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.2% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 65%, services 30%, industry 5% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $94.4 million
expenditures: $99.8 million, includes capital expenditures of $30.4 million (1996 est.)
food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning
Industrial production growth rate:
1% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production:
43.46 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
40.42 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
600 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, coconuts, fruits, vegetables; fish, beef
$22 million f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:
copra, beef, cocoa, timber, kava, coffee
Exports - partners:
India 32.5%, Thailand 22.8%, South Korea 10.5%, Indonesia 6.3%, Japan 4.9% (2002)
$93 million c.i.f. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, fuels
Imports - partners:
Australia 22.1%, Japan 19.2%, New Zealand 10.1%, Singapore 8.1%, Fiji 6.6%, Taiwan 5%, India 5% (2002)
Debt - external:
$68.6 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$45.8 million (1995)
vatu (VUV)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
vatu per US dollar - 139.2 (2002), 145.31 (2001), 137.64 (2000), 129.08 (1999), 127.52 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Vanuatu
Telephones - main lines in use:
5,500 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
310 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 2, shortwave 1 (2002)
67,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (2002)
2,300 (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
3,000 (2000)
Transportation Vanuatu
0 km
total: 1,070 km
paved: 256 km
unpaved: 814 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Forari, Port-Vila, Santo (Espiritu Santo)
Merchant marine:
total: 52 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,181,463 GRT/1,552,813 DWT
ships by type: bulk 26, cargo 5, combination bulk 3, container 3, liquefied gas 2, multi-function large-load carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 7, vehicle carrier 5
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 3, Canada 2, China 1, Japan 25, Monaco 4, Netherlands 1, NZ 5, Panama 1, Poland 1, Switzerland 2, UK 4, US 2, Vietnam 1 (2002 est.)
30 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1524 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 27
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 17 (2002)
Military Vanuatu
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Vanuatu Police Force (VPF; includes paramilitary Mobile Force or VMF)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Vanuatu
Disputes - international:
Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by Vanuatu and France