|Non-fillet frozen fish|
The Independent State of Samoa (commonly known as Samoa (Samoan: Samoa) and, until 1997, known as Western Samoa, is a Unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions. The two main islands are Savai'i and Upolu with four smaller islands surrounding the landmasses. The capital city is Apia. The Lapita people discovered and settled the Samoan islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed a unique language and cultural identity.
The domestic banking sector in Samoa comprises four major commercial banks––ANZ, Westpac, National Bank of Samoa and the Samoa Commercial Bank –– with total assets equivalent to 69% of GDP in 2009. By far the largest players are regional operators ANZ and Westpac. ANZ, which has a larger presence in Samoa of the two, has five branches and close to 150 staff. Like ANZ, Westpac has a strong focus on the business and government sector. The offshore financial sector, first launched in 1998, plays an increasingly important role as a source of foreign exchange earnings, though it is still a minor contributor compared to remittances and tourism.
|Agriculture||Vegetable, Fruits, Grains.|
|Services (Including financial)||56% (2009 estimate)|
|Non-fillet frozen fish|
Real per-capita income growth since the mid- the 1990s has been significantly higher than for any relevant peer group, in particular, other Pacific Islands. Prudent fiscal policies, guided by the government’s annual targets for the deficit (3½ percent of GDP) and net debt (40 percent of GDP) and steadfast structural reforms underpinned this performance. However, the global recession hit parts of the economy severely, notably manufacturing where the downsizing of a plant for automotive parts led to a collapse in output and formal sector employment. According to official estimates, real GDP fell 5½ percent in FY 2008/09, recording the worst slump in two decades.
The Central Bank of Samoa (CBS) has lowered policy rates by nearly 300 bps since August 2008. However, the pass-through to commercial lending rates has been limited as banks tightened risk management and built excess liquidity. The government has started to increase development spending since 2008, consistent with the objectives in the SDS and as part of an economic stimulus package in the wake of the global recession. The deficit was budgeted to double to over 10 percent of GDP in FY 2009/10, largely financed by grants and concessional loans.
Western Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, which includes American Samoa, was called "Navigator Islands" by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.
Official languages are English and Samoan (Gagana Fa'asamoa), which is also spoken in American Samoa.
The oldest date so far for remains in Samoa has been calculated by New Zealand scientists to a likely true age of circa 3,000 years ago from a Lapitasite at Mulifanua during the 1970s.
The origins of the Samoans are closely studied in modern research about Polynesia in various scientific disciplines such as genetics, linguistics and anthropology. Scientific research is ongoing, although a number of different theories exist; including one proposing that the Samoans originated from Austronesian predecessors during the terminal eastward Lapita expansion period from Southeast Asia and Melanesia between 2,500 and 1,500 BCE.
Intimate sociocultural and genetic ties were maintained between the eastern Filipo colonies and the archaeological record supports oral tradition and native genealogies that indicate inter-island voyaging and intermarriage between prehistoric Samoans, Fijians, and Tongans.
Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century. Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutchman, was the first known European to sight the Samoan islands in 1722. This visit was followed by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768. Contact was limited before the 1830s, which is when English missionaries and traders began arriving.
Mission work in Samoa had begun in late 1830 by John Williams, of the London Missionary Society arriving in Sapapali'i from The Cook Islands and Tahiti. According to Barbara A. West, "The Samoans were also known to engage in ‘headhunting', a ritual of war in which a warrior took the head of his slain opponent to give to his leader, thus proving his bravery. However, Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa from 1889 until his death in 1894, wrote in A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa, “The Samoans are gentle people
The Germans in particular began to show great commercial interest in the Samoan Islands, especially on the island of Upolu, where German firms monopolised copra and cocoa bean processing. The United States laid its own claim and formed alliances with local native chieftains, most conspicuously on the islands of Tutuila and Manu'a.
Britain also sent troops to protect British business enterprise, harbour rights, and consulate office. This was followed by an eight-year civil war, during which each of the three powers supplied arms, training and in some cases combat troops to the warring Samoan parties. The Samoan crisis came to a critical juncture in March 1889 when all three colonial contenders sent warships into Apia harbour, and a larger-scale war seemed imminent. A massive storm on 15 March 1889 damaged or destroyed the warships, ending the military conflict.
The Second Samoan Civil War reached a head in 1898 when Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States were locked in dispute over who should control the Samoa Islands. The Siege of Apia occurred in March 1899. Samoan forces loyal to Prince Tanu were besieged by a larger force of Samoan rebels loyal to Mata'afa Iosefo. Supporting Prince Tanu were landing parties from four British and American warships. After several days of fighting, the Samoan rebels were finally defeated.
American and British warships shelled Apia on 15 March 1899, including the USS Philadelphia. Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States quickly resolved to end the hostilities and divided the island chain at the Tripartite Convention of 1899, signed at Washington on 2 December 1899 with ratifications exchanged on 16 February 1900.
The eastern island-group became a territory of the United States (the Tutuila Islands in 1900 and officially Manu'a in 1904) and was known as American Samoa. The western islands, by far the greater landmass, became German Samoa. The United Kingdom had vacated all claims in Samoa and in return received (1) termination of German rights in Tonga, (2) all of the Solomon Islands south of Bougainville, and (3) territorial alignments in West Africa
In July 1997 the government amended the constitution to change the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa. American Samoa protested against the move, asserting that the change diminished its own identity. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2006 was estimated at $1.218 billion USD. The industrial sector is the largest component of GDP at 58.4%, followed by the services sector at 30.2% (2004 est.). Agriculture represents only 11.4% of GDP (2004 est.). The Samoan labour force is estimated at 90,000.
The country currency is the Samoan tala, issued and regulated by the Central Bank of Samoa. The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on agriculture and fishing at the local level. In modern times, development aid, private family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports have become key factors in the nation's economy. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labour force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (juice of the nonu fruit, as it is known in Samoan), and copra.
Outside of a large automotive wire harness factory (Yazaki Corporation), the manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Tourism is an expanding sector which now accounts for 25% of GDP. Tourist arrivals have been increasing over the years with more than 100,000 tourists visiting the islands in 2005, up from 70,000 in 1996.
The Samoan government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. Observers point to the flexibility of the labour market as a basic strength for future economic advances. The sector has been helped enormously by major capital investment in hotel infrastructure, political instability in neighbouring Pacific countries, and the 2005 launch of Virgin Samoa a joint-venture between the government and Virgin Australia (then Virgin Blue).
In the period before German colonisation, Samoa produced mostly copra. German merchants and settlers were active in introducing large scale plantation operations and developing new industries, notably cocoa bean and rubber, relying on imported labourers from China and Melanesia. When the value of natural rubber fell drastically, about the end of the Great War (World War I), the New Zealand government encouraged the production of bananas, for which there is a large market in New Zealand.
Because of variations in altitude, a large range of tropical and subtropical crops can be cultivated, but land is not generally available to outside interests. Of the total land area of 2,934 km² (725,000 acres), about 24.4% is in permanent crops and another 21.2% is arable. About 4.4% is Western Samoan Trust Estates Corporation (WSTEC).
The staple products of Samoa are copra (dried coconut meat), cocoa bean (for chocolate), and bananas. The annual production of both bananas and copra has been in the range of 13,000 to 15,000 metric tons (about 14,500 to 16,500 short tons). If the rhinoceros beetle in Samoa were eradicated, Samoa could produce in excess of 40,000 metric tons (44,000 short tons) of copra. Samoan cocoa beans are of very high quality and used in fine New Zealand chocolates. Most are Criollo-Forastero hybrids. Coffee grows well, but production has been uneven. WSTEC is the biggest coffee producer. Rubber has been produced in Samoa for many years, but its export value has little impact on the economy.
Other agricultural industries have been less successful. Sugarcane production, originally established by Germans in the early 20th century, could be successful. Old train tracks for transporting cane can be seen at some plantations east of Apia. Pineapples grow well in Samoa, but beyond local consumption have not been a major export.
Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
The tala is the currency of Samoa. It is divided into 100 sene. The terms talaand sene are the equivalents or transliteration of the English words dollar and cent, in the Samoan language.
The tala was introduced in 1967, following the country's political independence from New Zealand in 1962. Until that time, Samoa had used the pound, with coins from New Zealand and its own banknotes. The tala replaced the pound at a rate of 2 tala = 1 pound, and was therefore equal to the New Zealand dollar. The tala remained equal to the New Zealand dollar until 1975.
The symbol WS$ is still used for the tala, representing the country's previous name Western Samoa, used up to 1997, when the word Western was officially removed and the country became known as just Samoa. Therefore, the symbol SAT, ST, and T appear to be in use as well. Sometimes figures are written with the dollar sign in front, followed by "tala". e.g. $100 tala. The Samoan currency is issued and regulated by Samoa. Previous to 1967, New Zealand Coins were used in Western Samoa, circulating alongside locally issued banknotes.
In 1967, four years after independence, new coins and notes were introduced replacing the New Zealand Pound as the official currency. Coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 sene and $1 in equal size to the coins of New Zealand. 1 and 2 sene coins were struck in bronze, while the higher denominations were struck in cupro-nickel. All featured the national emblem on the reverse and the Head of State Malietoa Tanumafili on the obverse.
In 1974, a new coin series was introduced, designed by James Bass with a theme centered on locally grown food plants. The edges of the 50 cent coin were also changed from alternating plain and reeded to only reeded. In 1984, a seven-sided 1 tala coin was introduced in aluminum bronze to replace the note. The coin depicted the state emblem on the reverse. Although $1 tala pieces had been introduced in earlier years, this coin's bulky size and weight along with the favored use of the equivalent banknote never saw to popular and widespread use.
In 2011, the 1 and 2 and 5 sene coins were withdrawn from circulation as production costs exceeded production and their use in circulation had diminished significantly over the years. A new coin series was also introduced with reduced sizes and new shapes to reduce production costs and to reflect a more modern, streamlined Samoa. The new coins feature the current head of state and are themed around local culture. The new coin series also includes a new scalloped edge $2 tala struck in bronze plated steel intended to replace the note. The $1 tala is also struck in bronze plated steel and retains its original seven-sided shape but smaller. The reduced 5, 10, 20, and 50 sene are struck in nickel-plated steel. As Samoan coins are prone to heavy wear and use, the designs and composition were also studied and chosen with this in mind.
Pound and shilling treasury notes were issued from 1920 to 1963 as the Western Samoan pound at par with the New Zealand pound.
Banknotes of the Territory of Western Samoa, now the Independent State of Samoa, were issued by the Authority of the New Zealand Government, which governed the islands up until 1962. In 1915, the first provisional notes (dated 1914, but issued 1915) were issued by the New Zealand Occupying Military force. These were overprinted one pound and five pound notes of the Bank of New Zealand signed by Lt. Colonel Logan and overprinted 10 shillings notes were added in 1920. In 1922, Treasury Notes were issued “by the authority of the New Zealand Government” in denominations of 10 shillings and one and five pounds. They were issued until 1961 when the Bank of Western Samoa took over paper money issuance. Its first issues were overprints on the Treasury Notes. In 1963, regular type notes were introduced in the same denominations.
After independence, finance was taken over by the new government and a new currency called the tala was issued. Tala banknotes were first issued in 1967 in denominations of 1, 5, and 10 tala by the "Bank of Western Samoa." In 1980, a 5 tala note was issued shortly after the "Monetary Board of Western Samoa" was formulated.
Beginning in 1985, the new Central Bank of Samoa followed issued notes like the preceding issue from the Monetary Board of Western Samoa, but with the new issuer’s name in both Samoan and English. The 1-tala note was discontinued, and new denominations of 50- and 100-tala were issued in 1990.
On 29 September 1991, a 2-tala note was issued to commemorate the Golden Jubilee (50th anniversary) of Malietoa Tanumafili II as head of state. It was the first polymer note issued by Samoa. These were withdrawn in 2011 and replaced with a coin. In 2008 a new series in denominations of 5-100 tala produced by De La Rue was introduced with brighter colors, new security features, and modern designs. The two highest denominations (50 and 100 tala) are protected with De La Rue's Optiks security thread which features a see-through window.
|National Song||"The Banner of Freedom"|
|Currency||Samoan tala (WST)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||1.082 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||1.7 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$5553.352 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Muslims
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
Euronesians (Persons Of European And Polynesian Blood) 7%
O le Ao o le Malo – Va'aletoa Sualauvi II
Prime Minister – Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||52.61 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||7.162 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|