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French Polynesia
(overseas territory of France)

World Factbook (1990) French Polynesia.jpg

 See regional map X


Total area: 3,941 km²; land area: 3,660 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than one-third the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 2,525 km

Maritime claims:

Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical, but moderate

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

Natural resources: timber, fish, cobalt

Land use: 1% arable land; 19% permanent crops; 5% meadows and pastures; 31% forest and woodland; 44% other

Environment: occasional cyclonic storm in January; includes five archipelagoes

Note: Makatea is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific (others are Banaba or Ocean Island in Kiribati and Nauru)


Population: 190,181 (July 1990), growth rate 2.5% (1990)

Birth rate: 31 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 23 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 66 years male, 71 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.9 children born/woman (1990)

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

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

Religion: mainly Christian; 55% Protestant, 32% Roman Catholic

Language: French (official), Tahitian Literacy: NA%

Labor force: 57,863 employed (1983)

Organized labor: NA


Long-form name: Territory of French Polynesia

Type: overseas territory of France

Capital: Papeete

Administrative divisions: none (overseas territory of France)

Independence: none (overseas territory of France)

Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system: based on French system

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

Executive branch: French president, high commissioner of the republic, president of the Council of Ministers, vice president of the Council of Ministers, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral Territorial Assembly

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal

Leaders: Chief of State—President François MITTERRAND (since 21 May 1981); High Commissioner of the Republic Jean MONTPEZAT (since NA November 1987);

Head of Government—President of the Council of Ministers Alexandre LEONTIEFF (since 9 December 1987); Vice President of the Council of Ministers Georges KELLY (since 9 December 1987)

Political parties and leaders: Tahoeraa Huiraatira (Gaullist), Gaston Flosse; Pupu Here Ai'a, Jean Juventin; Front de Libération, Oscar Temaru; Ai'a Api, Emile Vernaudon; la Mana Te Nunaa, Jacques Drollet; Pupu Taina, Michel Law; Toatiraa Polynesia, Arthur Chung; Te E'a Api, Francis Sanford

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Territorial Assembly—last held 16 March 1986 (next to be held March 1991); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(41 total) Tahoeraa Huiraatira 24, Amuitahiraa Mo Porinesia 6, Pupu Here Ai'a 4, la Mana 3, Front de Libération 2, other 2;

French Senate—last held 24 September 1989 (next to be held September 1992); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(1 total) Democrats for Progress 1;

French National Assembly last held 5 and 12 June 1988 (next to be held June 1993); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(2 total) Rally for the Republic 1, Ai'a Api 1

Diplomatic representation: as an overseas territory of France, French Polynesian interests are represented in the US by France

Flag: the flag of France is used


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.

GDP: $2.24 billion, per capita $6,400; real growth rate NA% (1986)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.2% (1987)

Unemployment rate: 8% (1986 est.)

Budget: revenues $431; expenditures $418, including capital expenditures of $NA (1986)

Exports: $75 million (f.o.b., 1987); commodities—coconut products 79%, mother-of-pearl 14%, vanilla, shark meat; partners—France 44%, US 21%

Imports: $767 million (c.i.f., 1 986); commodities—fuels, foodstuffs, equipment; partners—France 50%, US 16%, New Zealand 6%

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 72,000 kW capacity; 265 million kWh produced, 1,350 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: tourism, pearls, agricultural processing, handicrafts

Agriculture: coconut and vanilla plantations; vegetables and fruit; poultry, beef, dairy products

Aid: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $3.6 billion

Currency: Comptoirs Français du Pacifique franc (plural francs); 1 CFP franc (CFPF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Comptoirs Français du Pacifique francs (CFPF) per US$1—104.71 (January 1990), 115.99 (1989), 108.30 (1988), 109.27 (1987), 125.92 (1986), 163.35 (1985); note—linked at the rate of 18.18 to the French franc

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 600 km (1982)

Ports: Papeete, Bora-bora

Merchant marine: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,732 GRT/4,191 DWT; includes 1 cargo, 1 refrigerated cargo; note—a subset of the French register

Civil air: about 6 major transport aircraft

Airports: 43 total, 41 usable; 23 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 12 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: 33,200 telephones; 84,000 radio receivers; 26,400 TV sets; stations—5 AM, 2 FM, 6 TV; 1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Note: defense is responsibility of France