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  • [Country flag of French Polynesia]

    French Polynesia

    [Country map of French Polynesia]

    (overseas territory of France)

    Geography

    Location: Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from South America to Australia

    Geographic coordinates: 15 00 S, 140 00 W

    Map references: Oceania

    Area:
    total: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
    land: 3,660 sq km
    water: 507 sq km

    Area - comparative: slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 2,525 km

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

    Climate: tropical, but moderate

    Terrain: mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point : Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Orohena 2,241 m

    Natural resources: timber, fish, cobalt

    Land use:
    arable land: 1%
    permanent crops: 6%
    permanent pastures : 5%
    forests and woodland: 31%
    other: 57% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: NA sq km

    Natural hazards: occasional cyclonic storms in January

    Environment - current issues: NA

    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: NA
    signed, but not ratified: NA

    Geography - note: includes five archipelagoes; Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru

    People

    Population: 233,488 (July 1997 est.)

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 34% (male 39,958; female 38,492)
    15-64 years : 62% (male 75,450; female 69,441)
    65 years and over: 4% (male 5,063; female 5,084) (July 1997 est.)

    Population growth rate: 1.89% (1997 est.)

    Birth rate: 23.27 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Death rate: 4.95 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Net migration rate: 0.59 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years : 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

    Infant mortality rate: 13.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 72.17 years
    male: 69.81 years
    female : 74.65 years (1997 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 2.77 children born/woman (1997 est.)

    Nationality:
    noun : French Polynesian(s)
    adjective: French Polynesian

    Ethnic groups: Polynesian 78%, Chinese 12%, local French 6%, metropolitan French 4%

    Religions: Protestant 54%, Roman Catholic 30%, other 16%

    Languages: French (official), Tahitian (official)

    Literacy:
    definition: age 14 and over can read and write, but definition of literacy not available
    total population: 98%
    male : 98%
    female: 98% (1977 est.)

    Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Territory of French Polynesia
    conventional short form : French Polynesia
    local long form: Territoire de la Polynesie Francaise
    local short form: Polynesie Francaise

    Data code: FP

    Dependency status: overseas territory of France since 1946

    Government type: NA

    National capital: Papeete

    Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 5 archipelagic divisions named Archipel des Marquises, Archipel des Tuamotu, Archipel des Tubuai, Iles du Vent, and Iles Sous-le-Vent
    note: Clipperton Island is administered by France from French Polynesia

    Independence: none (overseas territory of France)

    National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

    Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

    Legal system: based on French system

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President of France Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995), represented by High Commissioner of the Republic Dominique BUR (since NA)
    head of government: President of the Territorial Government of French Polynesia Gaston FLOSSE (since 4 April 1991); President of the Territorial Assembly Tinomana EBB (since NA)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers; president submits a list of members of the Territorial Assembly for approval by them to serve as ministers
    elections: high commissioner appointed by the president of France on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Government and the president of the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly

    Legislative branch: unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held 12 May 1996 (next to be held NA March 2001)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - People's Rally for the Republic (Gaullist) 22, Polynesian Liberation Front 10, New Fatherland Party 5, other 4
    note : one seat was elected to the French Senate on 24 September 1989 (next to be held NA September 1998); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; two seats were elected to the French National Assembly on 21 and 28 March 1993 (next to be held 25 May-1 June 1997 - special election); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - People's Rally for the Republic (Gaullist) 2

    Judicial branch: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Court of the First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or Tribunal Administratif

    Political parties and leaders: People's Rally for the Republic (Tahoeraa Huiraatira) [Gaston FLOSSE]; Polynesian Union Party (includes Te Tiarama and Here Ai'a Party) [Jean JUVENTIN]; Polynesian Liberation Front (Tavini Huiraatira) [Oscar TEMARU]; New Fatherland Party (Ai'a Api) [Emile VERNAUDON]; Independent Party (Ia Mana Te Nunaa) [Jacques DROLLET]; Te Aratia Ote Nunaa [Tinomana EBB]; Haere i Mua [Alexandre LEONTIEFF]; other small parties

    International organization participation: ESCAP (associate), FZ, ICFTU, SPC, WMO

    Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of France)

    Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of France)

    Flag description: two narrow red horizontal bands encase a wide white band; centered on the white band is a disk with blue and white wave pattern on the lower half and gold and white ray pattern on the upper half; a stylized red, blue and white ship rides on the wave pattern; the French flag is used for official occasions

    Economy

    Economy - overview: Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence economy to one in which a high proportion of the work force is either employed by the military or supports the tourist industry. Tourism accounts for about 20% of GDP and is a primary source of hard currency earnings. The territory will continue to benefit from a five-year (1994-98) development agreement with France aimed principally at creating new jobs.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.76 billion (1995 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: NA%

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,000 (1995 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: 4%
    industry: 18%
    services: 78% (1992 est.)

    Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1.5% (1994)

    Labor force:
    total: 118,744 (of which 70,044 are employed) (1988)
    by occupation : agriculture 13%, industry 19%, services 68% (1992 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 15% (1992 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $713 million
    expenditures : $1.36 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994)

    Industries: tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity - capacity: NA kW

    Electricity - production: 320 million kWh (1994)

    Electricity - consumption per capita: 1,409 kWh (1995 est.)

    Agriculture - products: coconuts, vanilla, vegetables, fruits; poultry, beef, dairy products

    Exports:
    total value: $245 million (f.o.b., 1994)
    commodities : cultured pearls 53.8%, coconut products, mother-of-pearl, vanilla, shark meat (1992)
    partners: France 33%, US 8.5% (1994)

    Imports:
    total value: $967 million (c.i.f., 1994)
    commodities : fuels, foodstuffs, equipment
    partners: France 44.7%, US 13.9% (1994)

    Debt - external: $NA

    Economic aid:
    recipient : ODA, $NA

    Currency: 1 CFP franc (CFPF) = 100 centimes

    Exchange rates: Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (CFPF) per US$1 - 98.48 (January 1997), 93.00 (1996), 90.75 (1995), 100.94 (1994), 102.96 (1993), 96.24 (1992); note - linked at the rate of 18.18 to the French franc

    Fiscal year: calendar year

    Communications

    Telephones: 33,200 (1983 est.)

    Telephone system:
    domestic: NA
    international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

    Radio broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 2, shortwave 0

    Radios: 116,000 (1992 est.)

    Television broadcast stations: 6

    Televisions: 35,000 (1992 est.)

    Transportation

    Railways: 0 km

    Highways:
    total : 792 km
    paved: 792 km (1995 est.)

    Ports and harbors: Mataura, Papeete, Rikitea, Uturoa

    Merchant marine:
    total : 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 32,127 GRT/53,710 DWT
    ships by type: chemical tanker 1, passenger-cargo 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (1996 est.)

    Airports: 41 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 35
    over 3,047 m: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
    914 to 1,523 m: 13
    under 914 m: 15 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 6
    914 to 1,523 m : 6 (1996 est.)

    Military

    Military branches: French Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force), Gendarmerie

    Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France

    Transnational Issues

    Disputes - international: none