Type of state
Parliamentary republic (since 2007). Samoa has been independent of New Zealand since the 1st of January 1962.
Head of State
His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II (since 2017).
Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998).
98% of Samoans are Christian. However they also observe the traditional philosophy founded on the relationship between beings (vafealoa’i) and respect (fa’aaloalo).
Apia. The most recent Census in 2011 counted 36 735 inhabitants in the Apia Urban Area.
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.
The population of Samoa is 187 820 inhabitants according to the 2011 Census.
In 2010, the GDP of Samoa, a former LDC (Least Developed Country) was estimated to be US$ 612.1 million, or US$ 3, 943 per capita. 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, with nearly 121 000 visitors in 2011. Foreign investment, particularly in the hotel sector, is also important for the economy.
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. In 2002, Prime Minister Helen Clark presented a formal apology on behalf of New Zealand, and a Treaty of Friendship was signed with Samoa. 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).
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.