Type of state: Parliamentary republic (since 2007)
Head of State: His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 2007)
Prime Minister: Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998)
Official languages: Samoan, English
Religion: 98% of Samoans are Christian. However they also observe the traditional philosophy founded on the relationship between beings (vafealoa’i) and respect (fa’aaloalo).
Capital: Apia. Population of 37,708 (2006 Census)
Geography: Samoa is made up of two main islands (Savai’i and ‘Upolu) and eight islets. Samoa covers 2,934 km² and has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 120,000 km².
Population: In 2008 Samoa’s population was 188,500. An increase of 5.2% from the 2006 census. This corresponds to 65 inhabitants/km².
Economy: The GDP of Samoa was estimated to be US$ 1.03 billion (approximately € 760 billion), or US$ 5 450 per capita in 2007. 60% of the economy is based on manufacturing, 30% on services, and 10% on agriculture. Two thirds of the population work in agriculture, which accounts for 90% of exports. Export products are mainly tropical fruits (coconut, bananas etc…) and cocoa beans and taro. The services sector is essentially based on tourism. Foreign investment, particularly in the hotel sector, is also important for the economy.
Politics: Samoa was the first colony in the Pacific to become independent. After nearly 40 years of demanding independence from New Zealand, Samoa became an independent state in 1962. The new state was organised as a constitutional monarchy with two of the four traditional main chiefs as co-sovereigns until the death of Malietoa Tanumafili II on 11 May 2007. Since then, Samoa’s Head of State has been elected by Parliament. During a constitutional reform in 1997, the name of the country was officially changed to the ’Independent State of Samoa’ (Malo Sa’oloto Tuto’atasi o Samoa).
Foreign Affairs: Samoa has no armed forces. The country has agreements with New Zealand and Australia stating that if Samoa’s security is breached, it will be protected by New Zealand and Australian forces. The Samoan Police have a maritime patrol boat at its disposal which is used for surveillance of fisheries and to combat smuggling.