The World Factbook (1990)/Vanuatu



World Factbook (1990) Vanuatu.jpg

See regional map X


Total area: 14,760 km²; land area: 14,760 km²; includes more than 80 islands

Comparative area: slightly larger than Connecticut

Land boundary: none

Coastline: 2,528 km

Maritime claims: (measured from claimed archipelagic baselines)

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds

Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains

Natural resources: manganese, hardwood forests, fish

Land use: 1% arable land; 5% permanent crops; 2% meadows and pastures; 1% forest and woodland; 91% other

Environment: subject to tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanism causes minor earthquakes

Note: located 5,750 km southwest of Honolulu in the South Pacific Ocean about three-quarters of the way between Hawaii and Australia


Population: 165,006 (July 1990), growth rate 3.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 37 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

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

Infant mortality rate: 36 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 67 years male, 72 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 5.5 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Vanuatuan(s); adjective—Vanuatuan

Ethnic divisions: 94% indigenous Melanesian, 4% French, remainder Vietnamese, Chinese, and various Pacific Islanders

Religion: most at least nominally Christian

Language: English and French (official); pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama)

Literacy: 10-20% (est.)

Labor force: NA

Organized labor: 7 registered trade unions largest include Oil and Gas Workers' Union, Vanuatu Airline Workers' Union


Long-form name: Republic of Vanuatu

Type: republic

Capital: Port-Vila

Administrative divisions: 11 island councils; Ambrym, Aoba/Maéwo, Banks/ Torres, Éfaté, Épi, Malakula, Paama, Pentecôte, Santo/Malo, Shepherd, Taféa

Independence: 30 July 1980 (from France and UK; formerly New Hebrides)

Constitution: 30 July 1980

Legal system: unified system being created from former dual French and British systems

National holiday: Independence Day, 30 July (1980)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament; note—the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of custom and land

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Frederick TIMAKATA (since 30 January 1989);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Father Walter Hadye LINI (since 30 July 1980); Deputy Prime Minister (vacant) Political parties and leaders: National Party (Vanua’aku Pali), Walter Lini; Union of Moderate Parties, Maxine Carlot; Melanesian Progressive Party, Barak Sope

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Parliament—last held 30 November 1987 (next to be held NA); byelections were held NA December 1988 to fill vacancies resulting from the expulsion of opposition members for boycotting sessions; results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(46 total) National Party 26, Union of Moderate Parties 19, independent 1

Member of: ACP, ADB, Commonwealth, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFC, IMF, ITU, NAM, SPF, UN, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation: Vanuatu does not have a mission in Washington; US—the ambassador in Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu

Flag: two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green (bottom) 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


Overview: The economy is based primarily on subsistence farming that provides a living for about 80% of the population. Fishing and tourism are the other mainstays of the economy. 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.

GDP: $120 million, per capita $820; real growth rate 0.7% (1987 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.0% (1988 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $80.1 million; expenditures $86.6 million, including capital expenditures of $27.1 million (1988 est.)

Exports: $16 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—copra 37%, cocoa 11%, meat 9%, fish 8%, timber 4%; partners—Netherlands 34%, France 27%, Japan 17%, Belgium 4%, New Caledonia 3%, Singapore 2% (1987)

Imports: $58 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—machines and vehicles 25%, food and beverages 23%, basic manufactures 18%, raw materials and fuels 11%, chemicals 6%; partners—Australia 36%, Japan 13%, NZ 10%, France 8%, Fiji 5% (1987)

External debt: $57 million (1988)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: 10,000 kW capacity; 20 million kWh produced, 125 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: export crops—copra, cocoa, coffee, and fish; subsistence crops—copra, taro, yams, coconuts, fruits, and vegetables

Aid: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $541 million

Currency: vatu (plural—vatu); 1 vatu (VT) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: vatu (VT) per US$1—107.17 (January 1990), 116.04 (1989), 104.43 (1988), 109.85 (1987), 106.08 (1986), 106.03 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: none

Highways: 1,027 km total; at least 240 km sealed or all-weather roads

Ports: Port-Vila, Luganville, Palikoulo, Santu

Merchant marine: 65 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 885,668 GRT/1,473,443 DWT; includes 26 cargo, 4 refrigerated cargo, 5 container, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 vehicle carrier, 3 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 2 liquefied gas, 21 bulk, 1 combination bulk; note—a flag of convenience registry

Civil air: no major transport aircraft

Airports: 33 total, 28 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 2,439 m; 2 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: stations—2 AM, no FM, no TV; 3,000 telephones; 1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: a paramilitary force is responsible for internal and external security; no military forces

Military manpower: NA

Defense expenditures: NA