The Independent state of Samoa was formerly known as Western Samoa and German Samoa, is a country governing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in Polynesia, Savai'i. The capital city Apia is situated on the island of Upolu. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was called Navigators Islands by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills. Samoa’s weather is generally hot and rainy from December to April and cooler from May to November. Samoa is prone to hurricanes and cyclones which sometimes cause devastation. The most significant environmental issue is soil erosion.
Samoa has the world’s second largest Polynesian group after the Maoris. Deeply traditional and devoutly Christian, Samoan society centres on the extended family headed by an elected chief.
Samoa is a stable constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected parliament. The Prime Minister of Samoa is the head of government.
Health and Education
The government provides some public health services through health care centres in both rural and urban settings. Traditional healers and traditional birth attendants are also available, however these are rare and as a consequence childbirth complications are reasonably high. There is a high rate of STI amongst pregnant women. There is generally high immunisation coverage. Environmental conditions are a factor in wound healing, dengue and tropical ulcers. Non- communicable diseases are now the concern for Samoa, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and tobacco related illness are all current health priorities.
Samoa currently has one of the highest standards of Education and Health among the Pacific Island countries. There are ten years of compulsory education starting at age five. As well as state schools, there are several mission schools. Samoa was one of the founders of the regional University of the South Pacific, which has its main campus in Suva, Fiji Islands. The country also has a National University established in 1984.
Samoa is a developing nation which has recently increased its economic performance following structural reforms in the 1990’s. Tourism and remittances from Samoans abroad, particularly in New Zealand, have also aided this process. Samoa improved its economic standing through structural reforms in the 1990’s, tourism and remittances from Samoans abroad have also aided this process.
Samoa’s economy is highly dependent on a diminishing fishing and agriculture, both, vulnerable to cyclones and disease. Tourism and light manufacturing are expanding. However, Samoa’s economic prospects and life-style do not always match the expectations of some of the younger generation, many of whom are emigrating to New Zealand, the United States and American Samoa.
Population: 179,000 (UN, 2010)
Head of State: King, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua TAMASESE Efi
Head of Government: Prime Minister, The Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi MP
Joined Commonwealth: 1970
Major Languages: Samoan, English
Major Religions: Christianity
Life Expectancy: 70 Years (men), 76 Years (women) (UN)
Infant Mortality Rate: 22.3 per 1000 births
Literacy Rate: 99%
Monetary Unit: Tala or Samoan Dollar (T$)
Main Exports: Coconut oil and cream, copra, fish, beer
GNI per capita: US $2,840 (World Bank, 2009)
- Soil Erosion
- Emigration of Medical Professionals
- Invasive species
Commonwealth Secretariat: www.thecommonwealth.org
BBC Country Profiles: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/country_profiles/default.stm
Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade: www.dfat.gov.au/
World Health Organisation: www.who.int/countries/en/
UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs: www.irinnews.org
One World Civil Society Network: www.oneworld.net
United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) http://www.unfpa.org/public/
Economist Intelligence Unit - EIU Viewswire http://viewswire.eiu.com/
CIA World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
Country Watch http://www.countrywatch.com/cw_default.aspx
South Pacific Web Guide Directory: www.southpacificsites.com
Samoan Government: www.govt.ws