Geographic and Governmental Profile of Samoa

Background
New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the "Western" from its name in 1997.
Location
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates
13 35 S, 172 20 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Oceania
Area
total:
2,831 sq km
rank:
178
land:
2,821 sq km
water:
10 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Rhode Island
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
403 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October)
Terrain
two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Mount Silisili 1,857 m
Natural resources
hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
21.13%
permanent crops:
24.3%
other:
54.57% (2005)
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Irrigated land
NA
Natural hazards
occasional typhoons; active volcanism
volcanism:
Savai'I Island (elev. 1,858 m), which last erupted in 1911, is historically active
Environment - current issues
soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
occupies an almost central position within Polynesia
Country name
conventional long form:
Independent State of Samoa
conventional short form:
Samoa
local long form:
Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa
local short form:
Samoa
former:
Western Samoa
Government type
parliamentary democracy
Capital
name:
Apia
geographic coordinates:
13 49 S, 171 46 W
time difference:
+1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April
Administrative divisions
11 districts; A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai, Atua, Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gagaifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, Tuamasaga, Va'a-o-Fonoti, Vaisigano
Independence
1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday
Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship; it is observed in June
Constitution
1 January 1962
Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 20 June 2007)
head of government:
Prime Minister TUILA'EPA Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi (since 1998); Deputy Prime Minister FONOTOE Pierre Lauofo (since 2011)
cabinet:
Cabinet consists of 12 members appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice
elections:
chief of state elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 20 July 2012 (next to be held in 2017); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state with the approval of the Legislative Assembly
election results:
TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly
Legislative branch
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats, 47 members elected by voters affiliated with traditional village-based electoral districts, 2 elected by independent, mostly non-Samoan or part-Samoan, voters who cannot, (or choose not to) establish a village affiliation; only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Fono from the 47 village-based electorates; members serve five-year terms)
elections:
election last held on 4 March 2011 (next election to be held not later than March 2016)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - HRPP 29, Tautua Samoa 13, independents 7
Judicial branch
Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; District Court; Land and Titles Court
Political parties and leaders
Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA]; Samoa Christian Party or TCP [Tuala Tiresa MALIETOA]; Samoa Democratic United Party or SDUP [LE MAMEA Ropati]; Samoa Progressive Political Party or SPPP [Toeolesulusulu SIUEVA]; Tautua Samoa [Vaelua Eti ALESANA]
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi ELISAIA
chancery:
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017
telephone:
[1] (212) 599-6196 through 6197
FAX:
[1] (212) 599-0797
consulate(s) general:
Pago Pago (American Samoa)
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
US Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
embassy:
Accident Corporation Building, 5th Floor, Matafele, Apia
mailing address:
P. O. Box 3430, Matafele, Apia
telephone:
[685] 21436/21631/21452/22696
FAX:
[685] 22030
Flag description
red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation; red stands for courage, blue represents freedom, and white signifies purity
National symbol(s)
Southern Cross constellation (five, five-pointed stars)
National anthem
name:
"O le Fu"a o le Sa"olotoga o Samoa" (The Banner of Freedom)
lyrics/music:
Sauni Iiga KURESA
adopted 1962; the anthem is also known as "Samoa Tula'i" (Samoa Arise)
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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