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  • [Country flag of Vanuatu]

    Vanuatu

    [Country map of Vanuatu]

    Geography

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

    Geographic coordinates: 16 00 S, 167 00 E

    Map references: Oceania

    Area:
    total : 14,760 sq km
    land: 14,760 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: includes more than 80 islands

    Area - comparative: slightly larger than Connecticut

    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

    Climate: tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds

    Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Tabwemasana 1,877 m

    Natural resources: manganese, hardwood forests, fish

    Land use:
    arable land: 2%
    permanent crops: 10%
    permanent pastures : 2%
    forests and woodland: 75%
    other: 11% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: NA sq km

    Natural hazards: tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes

    Environment - current issues: a majority of the population does not have access to a potable and reliable supply of water; deforestation

    Environment - international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
    signed, but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea

    People

    Population: 181,358 (July 1997 est.)

    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 40% (male 36,655; female 35,359)
    15-64 years: 57% (male 53,506; female 50,508)
    65 years and over: 3% (male 2,904; female 2,426) (July 1997 est.)

    Population growth rate: 2.12% (1997 est.)

    Birth rate: 29.87 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Death rate: 8.63 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

    Net migration rate: 0 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: 1.06 male(s)/female
    65 years and over : 1.2 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

    Infant mortality rate: 62.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:
    total population: 60.56 years
    male: 58.65 years
    female: 62.58 years (1997 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 3.88 children born/woman (1997 est.)

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

    Ethnic groups: 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:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 53%
    male: 57%
    female: 48% (1979 est.)

    Government

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

    Data code: NH

    Government type: republic

    National 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 Rialuth Serge VOHOR (since 30 September 1996); Deputy Prime Minister Donald KALPOKAS (since 25 October 1996)
    cabinet : Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, responsible to Parliament
    elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and the presidents of the regional councils for a five-year term; election for president last held 2 March 1994 (next to be held NA 1999); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by Parliament from among its members; election for prime minister last held 30 September 1996 (next to be held NA November 1999); note - the general legislative elections in November 1995 did not give a majority to any of the political parties; since the election, there have been three changes of government - all of which have been coalitions formed by Parliamentary vote; Rialuth Serge VOHOR was prime minister from November 1995 until he resigned 7 February 1996 when faced with a no-confidence vote in Parliament; Maxime Carlot KORMAN was then elected prime minister and served until he was ousted in a no-confidence motion on 30 September 1996; VOHOR was then elected prime minister for a second time
    election results: Jean Marie LEYE elected president; percent of electoral college vote - NA; Serge VOHOR elected prime minister by a Parliamentary vote of 28 to 22

    Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (50 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections : last held 30 November 1995 (next to be held NA November 1999)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 17, VP 14, NUP 9, MPP 5, TU 2, Na-Griamel Movement 1, Friend Melanesian Party 1, independent 1; note - political party associations are fluid; there have been three changes of government since the November 1995 elections
    note : the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of custom and land

    Judicial branch: Supreme Court, chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission

    Political parties and leaders: Union of Moderate Parties (UMP), Serge VOHOR; National United Party (NUP), Walter LINI; Vanuatu Party (VP), Donald KALPOKAS; Melanesian Progressive Party (MPP), Barak SOPE; Tan Union (TU), Vincent BOULEKONE; Na-Griamel Movement, Frankie STEVENS; Friend Melanesian Party, Albert RAUUTIA

    International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, ITU, NAM, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

    Diplomatic representation in the US: Vanuatu does not have an embassy in the US

    Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Vanuatu; the 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 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

    Economy

    Economy - overview: The economy is based primarily on subsistence or small-scale agriculture which provides a living for 65% 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. 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.

    GDP: purchasing power parity - $219 million (1995 est.)

    GDP - real growth rate: 2% (1995)

    GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,230 (1995 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture : 25%
    industry: 9%
    services: 66%

    Inflation rate - consumer price index: 4% (1995)

    Labor force:
    total: 66,597 (1989 est.)
    by occupation: agriculture 65%, services 32%, industry 3% (1995 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues : $74.8 million
    expenditures: $76.1 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994 est.)

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

    Industrial production growth rate: 3.4% (1993 est.)

    Electricity - capacity: 11,000 kW (1995)

    Electricity - production: 30 million kWh (1994)

    Electricity - consumption per capita: NA kWh

    Agriculture - products: copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, coconuts, fruits, vegetables; fish, beef

    Exports:
    total value: $28 million (f.o.b., 1995)
    commodities: copra, beef, cocoa, timber, coffee
    partners : EU 32%, Japan 29%, Australia 11%, New Caledonia 7% (1993)

    Imports:
    total value: $93 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
    commodities: machines and vehicles, food and beverages, basic manufactures, raw materials and fuels, chemicals
    partners: Australia 41%, France 15%, NZ 11%, Japan 9%, Fiji 6% (1992)

    Debt - external: $38.2 million (yearend 1993)

    Economic aid:
    recipient: ODA, $9.6 million from Australia (FY96/97 est.); $3.1 million from NZ (FY95/96)

    Currency: 1 vatu (VT) = 100 centimes

    Exchange rates: vatu (VT) per US$1 - 112.36 (January 1997), 111.72 (1996), 112.11 (1995), 116.41 (1994), 121.58 (1993), 113.39 (1992)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

    Communications

    Telephones: 3,000 (1987 est.)

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

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

    Radios: NA

    Television broadcast stations: 0

    Televisions: 2,000 (1992 est.)

    Transportation

    Railways: 0 km

    Highways:
    total : 1,050 km
    paved: 250 km
    unpaved: 800 km (1995 est.)

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

    Merchant marine:
    total : 100 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,451,548 GRT/1,945,514 DWT
    ships by type: bulk 32, cargo 30, chemical tanker 2, combination bulk 1, container 2, liquefied gas tanker 5, oil tanker 7, refrigerated cargo 13, vehicle carrier 8
    note : a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 17 countries among which are Japan 31, India 10, Greece 7, Netherlands 7, US 7, Hong Kong 6, Canada 4, France 4, Australia 2, and Singapore 2 (1996 est.)

    Airports: 30 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 19
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    under 914 m: 17 (1996 est.)

    Airports - with unpaved runways:
    total: 11
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m : 10 (1996 est.)

    Military

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

    Military manpower - availability:
    males age 15-49: NA

    Military manpower - fit for military service:
    males: NA

    Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

    Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

    Transnational Issues

    Disputes - international: claims Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia