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Vanuatu, See : Flags, Maps

Vanuatu (Australia-Oceania)

Introduction ::Vanuatu


Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides in the millennia preceding European exploration in the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.

Geography ::Vanuatu

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Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates:
16 00 S, 167 00 E

Map references:



total: 12,189 sq km country comparison to the world: 163 land: 12,189 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes more than 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than Connecticut

Vanuatu Land Diving

Land boundaries:

0 km


2,528 km

Maritime claims:

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April


mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m

Vanuatu-Volcano Post 1

Natural resources:

manganese, hardwood forests, fish

Land use:

arable land: 1.64%

permanent crops: 6.97%

other: 91.39% (2005)

Irrigated land:

Natural hazards:

tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began on 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis

volcanism: Vanuatu experiences significant volcanic activity, with many volcanoes erupting in recent years; Yasur (elev. 361 m, 1,184 ft), one of the world's most active volcanoes, has experienced continuous activity in recent centuries; other historically active volcanoes include, Aoba, Ambrym, Epi, Gaua, Kuwae, Lopevi, Suretamatai, and Traitor's Head

Environment - current issues:

most of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; deforestation

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered
Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection,
Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes

People ::Vanuatu


221,552 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 183

Age structure:

0-14 years: 30.7% (male 34,263/female 32,833)

15-64 years: 65.3% (male 72,670/female 69,970)

65 years and over: 4% (male 4,516/female 4,267) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 24.6 years

male: 24.5 years

female: 24.6 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.359% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 90

Birth rate:

21.08 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 86

Death rate:

7.49 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 118

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 102


urban population: 25% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 4.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 48.17 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 54 male: 50.65 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 45.56 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 64.33 years country comparison to the world: 169 male: 62.7 years

female: 66.04 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.43 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 96

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural)

adjective: Ni-Vanuatu

Ethnic groups:

Ni-Vanuatu 98.5%, other 1.5% (1999 Census)


Presbyterian 31.4%, Anglican 13.4%, Roman Catholic 13.1%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, other Christian 13.8%, indigenous beliefs 5.6% (including Jon Frum cargo cult), other 9.6%, none 1%, unspecified 1.3% (1999 Census)


local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English (official) 1.9%, French (official) 1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7% (1999 Census)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 74%

male: NA

female: NA (1999 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 10 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2004)

Education expenditures:

6.9% of GDP (2008) country comparison to the world: 24

Government ::Vanuatu

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu

conventional short form: Vanuatu

local long form: Ripablik blong Vanuatu

local short form: Vanuatu

former: New Hebrides

Government type:

parliamentary republic


name: Port-Vila (on Efate)

geographic coordinates: 17 44 S, 168 19 E

time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea, Torba


30 July 1980 (from France and the UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 30 July (1980)


30 July 1980

Legal system:

unified system being created from former dual French and British systems; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Iolu Johnson ABBIL (since 3 September 2009)

head of government: Prime Minister Sato KILMAN (since 2 December 2010); note - Edward NATAPEI loses office in a no confidence vote on 2 December 2010

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, responsible to parliament (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of parliament and the presidents of the regional councils; election for president last held on 2 September 2009 (next to be held in 2014); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by parliament from among its members; election for prime minister last held on 22 September 2008 (next to be held following general elections in 2012)

election results: Iolu Johnson ABBIL elected president, with 41 votes out of 58, on the third ballot on 2 September 2009

Legislative branch:

unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held on 2 September 2008 (next to be held in 2012)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - VP 11, NUP 8, UMP 7, VRP 7, PPP 4, GC 2, MPP 1, NA 1, NAG 1, PAP 1, Shepherds Alliance 1, VFFP 1, VLP 1, VNP 1, VPRFP 1, and independent 4; note - political party associations are fluid

note: the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of culture and language

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission)

Political parties and leaders:

Greens Confederation or GC [Moana CARCASSES]; Jon Frum Movement or
JF [Song KEASPAI]; Melanesian Progressive Party or MPP [Barak SOPE];
Nagriamel movement or NAG [Havo MOLI]; Namangi Aute or NA [Paul
TELUKLUK]; National United Party or NUP [Ham LINI]; People's Action
Party or PAP [Peter VUTA]; People's Progressive Party or PPP [Sato
KILMAN]; Shepherds Alliance Party [leader NA]; Union of Moderate
Parties or UMP [Serge VOHOR]; Vanua'aku Pati (Our Land Party) or VP
[Edward NATAPEI]; Vanuatu Family First Party or VFFP [Eta RORI];
Vanuatu Labor Party or VLP [Joshua KALSAKAU]; Vanuatu National Party
or VNP [Issac HAMARILIU]; Vanuatu Republican Farmers Party or VPRFP
[Jean RAVOU]; Vanuatu Republican Party or VRP [Maxime Carlot KORMAN]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation:

WCO, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:

Vanuatu does not have an embassy in the US; it does, however, have a
Permanent Mission to the UN

Diplomatic representation from the US:

the US does not have an embassy in Vanuatu; the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu

Flag description:

two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green 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 fern fronds, all in yellow; red represents the blood of boars and men, green the richness of the islands, and black the ni-Vanuatu people; the yellow Y-shape - which reflects the pattern of the islands in the Pacific Ocean - symbolizes the light of the Gospel spreading through the islands; the boar's tusk is a symbol of prosperity frequently worn as a pendant on the islands; the fern fronds represent peace

National anthem:

name: "Yumi, Yumi, Yumi" (We, We, We)

lyrics/music: Francois Vincent AYSSAV

note: adopted 1980, the anthem is written in Bislama, a Creole language that mixes Pidgin English and French

Economy ::Vanuatu

Economy - overview:

This South Pacific island economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for about two-thirds of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with nearly 197,000 visitors in 2008, are 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. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002, the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism through improved air connections, resort development, and cruise ship facilities. Agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a second target for growth. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of tourists and foreign aid.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$1.216 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 196 $1.168 billion (2009 est.)

$1.126 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$721 million (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.1% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 76 3.8% (2009 est.)

6.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$5,500 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 140 $5,300 (2009 est.)

$5,200 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 26%

industry: 12%

services: 62% (2000 est.)

Labor force:

115,900 (2007) country comparison to the world: 181

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 65%

industry: 5%

services: 30% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

1.7% (1999) country comparison to the world: 9

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.9% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 113

Central bank discount rate:

6% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 77 6% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

5.5% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 148 5.29% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$229.2 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 171 $177.7 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of broad money:

$614.2 million (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 169 $531.6 million (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:

$274 million (31 December 2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 170 $229.5 million (31 December 2007 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:

copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, fruits, vegetables; beef; fish


food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning

Electricity - production:

42 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 200

Electricity - consumption:

39.06 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 200

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 123

Oil - consumption:

1,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 191

Oil - exports:

0 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 166

Oil - imports:

654 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 193

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 108

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 114

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 164

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 103

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 117

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 122

Current account balance:

-$60 million (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 70


$40 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 200

Exports - commodities:

copra, beef, cocoa, timber, kava, coffee

Exports - partners:

Thailand 53.15%, Japan 12.22%, Poland 11.78% (2009)


$156 million (2006) country comparison to the world: 203

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, fuels

Imports - partners:

Japan 17.3%, Australia 13.46%, China 12.26%, Singapore 12%, NZ 6.88%, Poland 6.61%, France 5.86%, Fiji 5.52% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$40.54 million (2003) country comparison to the world: 133

Debt - external:

$81.2 million (2004) country comparison to the world: 181

Exchange rates:

vatu (VUV) per US dollar - 97.93 (2009), NA (2007), 111.93 (2006), NA (2005), 111.79 (2004), 122.19 (2003)

Communications ::Vanuatu

Telephones - main lines in use:

7,200 (2009) country comparison to the world: 206

Telephones - mobile cellular:

126,500 (2009) country comparison to the world: 181

Telephone system:

general assessment: NA

domestic: NA

international: country code - 678; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media:

1 state-owned television station; multi-channel pay TV is available; state-owned Radio Vanuatu operates 2 radio stations; 2 privately-owned radio broadcasters; programming from multiple international broadcasters is accessible (2008)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

1,347 (2010) country comparison to the world: 164

Internet users:

17,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 196

Transportation ::Vanuatu


31 (2010) country comparison to the world: 114

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 28

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 23 (2010)


total: 1,070 km country comparison to the world: 183 paved: 256 km

unpaved: 814 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

total: 72 country comparison to the world: 60 by type: bulk carrier 35, cargo 5, container 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger 2, refrigerated cargo 26, vehicle carrier 1

foreign-owned: 70 (Australia 2, Belgium 1, Canada 5, Greece 4, Japan 44, Monaco 1, Norway 1, Poland 7, Russia 1, UAE 1, Ukraine 3) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Forari Bay, Luganville (Santo, Espiritu Santo), Port-Vila

Military ::Vanuatu

Military branches:

no regular military forces; Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF; includes Police Maritime Wing (PMW)) (2009)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 61,178 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 42,450

females age 16-49: 43,894 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 2,346

female: 2,249 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

Transnational Issues ::Vanuatu

Disputes - international:

Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by Vanuatu and France


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