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Flag of Reunion
Map of Reunion
Introduction Reunion
Portuguese discovered uninhabited island in 1513. From 17th to 19th centuries, French immigration, supplemented by influxes of Africans, Chinese, Malays, and Malabar Indians, gave island its ethnic mix. opening of Suez Canal in 1869 cost island its importance as a stopover on East Indies trade route.
Geography Reunion
Southern Africa, island in Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar
Geographic coordinates:
21 06 S, 55 36 E
Map references:
total: 2,517 sq km
water: 10 sq km
land: 2,507 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
207 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry from May to November, hot and rainy from November to April
mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Piton des Neiges 3,069 m
Natural resources:
fish, arable land, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 13.2%
permanent crops: 2%
other: 84.8% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
120 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
periodic, devastating cyclones (December to April); Piton de la Fournaise on southeastern coast is an active volcano
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
this mountainous, volcanic island has an active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise; there is a tropical cyclone center at Saint-Denis, which is monitoring station for whole of Indian Ocean
People Reunion
Total Population:
755,171 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.3% (male 121,119; female 115,501)
15-64 years: 62.8% (male 233,607; female 240,502)
65 years and over: 5.9% (male 18,036; female 26,406) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.4 years
male: 25.2 years
female: 27.5 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.47% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
20.17 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
5.49 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: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
Population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 8.13 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 8.89 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 73.43 years
male: 70.03 years
female: 77 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.53 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Reunionese (singular and plural)
adjective: Reunionese
Ethnic groups:
French, African, Malagasy, Chinese, Pakistani, Indian
Roman Catholic 86%, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist (1995)
French (official), Creole widely used
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 88.9%
male: 87%
female: 90.8% (2003 est.)
Government Reunion
Country name:
conventional long form: Department of Reunion
conventional short form: Reunion
local short form: Ile de la Reunion
local long form: none
former: Bourbon Island
Dependency status:
overseas department of France
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas department of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by US Government, but there are 4 arrondissements, 24 communes, and 47 cantons
none (overseas department of France)
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
28 September 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
French law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Gonthier FRIEDERICI (since NA)
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; prefect appointed by French president on advice of French Ministry of Interior; presidents of General and Regional Councils are elected by members of those councils
head of government: President of General Council Jean-Luc POUDROUX (since NA March 1998) and President of Regional Council Paul VERGES (since NA March 1993)
cabinet: NA
Legislative branch:
unicameral General Council (49 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve six-year terms) and a unicameral Regional Council (45 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: General Council - last held 15 and 22 March 1998 (next to be held NA 2004); Regional Council - last held 15 March 1998 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: General Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - various right-wing candidates 13, PCR 10, PS 10, UDF 8, RPR 6, other left-wing candidates 2; Regional Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PCR 19, UDF 9, RPR 8, various right-wing candidates 4, various left-wing candidates 5
note: Reunion elects three representatives to French Senate; elections last held NA 2001 (next to be held NA 2006); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; Reunion also elects five deputies to French National Assembly; elections last held 9 June-16 June 2002 (next to be held NA 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - UMP-RPR 1, UMP 1, PCR 1
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel
Political parties and leaders:
Communist Party of Reunion or PCR [Paul VERGES]; Rally for Republic or RPR [Andre Maurice PIHOUEE]; Socialist Party or PS [Jean-Claude FRUTEAU]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Gilbert GERARD]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
none (overseas department of France)
Diplomatic representation from US:
none (overseas department of France)
Flag description:
flag of France is used
Economy Reunion
Economy - overview:
economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, but services now dominate. Sugarcane has been primary crop for more than a century, and in some years it accounts for 85% of exports. government has been pushing development of a tourist industry to relieve high unemployment, which amounts to one-third of labor force. gap in Reunion between well-off and poor is extraordinary and accounts for persistent social tensions. white and Indian communities are substantially better off than other segments of population, often approaching European standards, whereas minority groups suffer poverty and unemployment typical of poorer nations of African continent. outbreak of severe rioting in February 1991 illustrates seriousness of socioeconomic tensions. economic well-being of Reunion depends heavily on continued financial assistance from France.
buying power parity - $4.174 billion (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $5,600 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 19%
services: 73% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Labor force:
309,900 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 13%, industry 12%, services 75% (2000)
Unemployment rate:
36% (1999 est.)
revenues: $1.26 billion
expenditures: $2.62 billion, includes capital expenditures of $NA (1998)
sugar, rum, cigarettes, handicraft items, flower oil extraction
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
1.08 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 55.5%
hydro: 44.5%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.005 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
18,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, vanilla, tobacco, tropical fruits, vegetables, corn
$214 million f.o.b. (1997)
Exports - commodities:
sugar 63%, rum and molasses 4%, perfume essences 2%, lobster 3%, (1993)
Exports - partners:
France 74%, Japan 6%, Comoros 4% (2000)
$2.5 billion c.i.f. (1997)
Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, food, beverages, tobacco, machinery and transportation equipment, raw materials, and petroleum products
Imports - partners:
France 64%, Bahrain 3%, Germany 3%, Italy 3% (2000)
Debt - external:
Economic aid - recipient:
$NA; note - substantial annual subsidies from France
euro (EUR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 1.06 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.8995 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Reunion
Telephones - main lines in use:
268,500 (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
197,000 (September 2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate system; principal center is Saint-Denis
domestic: modern open-wire and microwave radio relay network
international: radiotelephone communication to Comoros, France, Madagascar; new microwave route to Mauritius; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 55, shortwave 0 (2001)
173,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
35 (plus 18 low-power repeaters) (2001)
127,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
10,000 (2000)
Transportation Reunion
0 km
total: 2,724 km
paved: 1,300 km (including 73 km of four-lane road)
unpaved: 1,424 km (1994)
Ports and harbors:
Le Port, Pointe des Galets
2 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Military Reunion
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; French forces (including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Gendarmerie)
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 198,341 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 101,116 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 6,795 (2003 est.)
Military - note:
defense is responsibility of France
Transnational Issues Reunion
Disputes - international: