|Malo Tutoatasi o Samoa
|Form of government
||Chief parliamentary aristocracy
||UTC - 11 hours
|Telephone area code
The independent state of Samoa (officially West Samoa
or Samoa West until 1997; officially Malo Tuto'atasi o
Samoa i Sisifo) is an island nation in the southwestern
Pacific Ocean and lies about 3,000 km northeast of New
Zealand, halfway to Hawaii. Its national area (2,831
km²) covers the western part of the Samoa Islands. It
consists of the islands of Savaii (1 708 km²), Upolu (1
118 km²), Apolima, Manono and five other uninhabited
islands. The Eastern Islands have been part of the US
territory since 1899 as American Samoa.
The islands of Samoas are of volcanic origin and have
high, rugged mountains in the interior, which rise to
Savaii to the highest mountain in the country, the 1,858
m high Mount Silisili. The central volcanoes of Savaii
are surrounded by lava plains that change towards the
coast into narrow, partly hilly, partly flat landscapes.
The central volcanic mountain on the island of Upolu is
Mount Rito, which is 1,079 m high. Here, too, the
coastal plains are the focus of the settlement. Both
main islands have numerous short but water-rich rivers
that flow to the sea via rapids, crater lakes and
waterfalls. The islands are largely surrounded by coral
Samoa's climate is warm and humid with little
seasonal temperature fluctuation. The average
temperatures in Apia, the capital of the state, are 26.5
ˇăC in January and 25.5 ˇăC in July. A southeast trade
wind blows from May to November. The annual rainfall is
around 2,500 mm (roughly three times the amount of rain
in Germany). The main rainfalls are from November to
March. In the mountainous inner regions of the islands,
there is more precipitation, on the weather sides of the
mountains up to 7,000 mm annually. The risk of tropical
cyclones, so-called typhoons, is particularly high in
the months of January, February and March. The volcanoes
of the islands are still partially active, the last
eruption was in Savaii in 1904.
Flora and fauna
Tropical rainforests largely cover soils that are
very fertile due to their volcanic origin. The mountain
regions in particular are densely covered with evergreen
forests. Myrtle plants, nutmeg trees, ferns and bamboo
grow on the large islands. The particularly high banyan
trees are striking. Especially in the coastal region
there are coconut palms and breadfruit trees up to 20 m
high, the head-sized stone fruits of which weigh up to
two kilograms are edible.
Animal life is not very rich in species. Bats and
various lizard species live on the islands. The endemic
animal species in Samoa include two types of snakes and
around half of the existing bird species. Pigs, rats and
cattle, on the other hand, were introduced by humans.
Around 178,000 people live in the state of Samoa, the
country's largest city is Apia on the north coast of the
island of Upolu with a population of 37,000. Three
quarters of the population live on the island of Upolu.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 92% of citizens are Samoans and 7% of European descent.
The smaller minorities also include more than a thousand
European employees in development aid projects. The
Samoans belong to the Polynesian ethnic group, which
also includes the Maori in New Zealand and the Tahitians
in Tahiti. The official languages are Samoan and
English. Samoan is spoken as a mother tongue by around
200,000 people worldwide. The Polynesian languages are
spoken by about a million people.
The Samoan village communities are traditionally
characterized by high social cohesion. Elected family
leaders form village and area councils and solve
problems of coexistence that arise. Before the emergence
of Europeans, apart from practiced natural rituals
performed by the family elders, there were no
overarching religious belief systems. This changed due
to the mission to Christianity, which was quickly
adopted by the village communities. Today, around 99% of
the population consider themselves Christian. The
Church, which emerged from the London Mission Society,
has the most religious followers, followed by the Roman
Catholic and Methodist Churches, as well as other
The population development on the islands has a
slightly negative tendency, which is due to the strong
emigration. The health system is good, the average life
expectancy is 71 years. Literacy is almost complete.
Samoa is a parliamentary democracy with traditional
Polynesian elements in the Commonwealth. The
constitution dates from 1962. The head of state has been
Tupuola Taisi Tufuga Efi since June 2007. The head of
state is elected by the legislative assembly for a
period of five years. The executive is taken over by the
Prime Minister (Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi since
November 1998) and his cabinet.
The legislative power lies with the so-called Fono
(Legislative Assembly), which has 49 members elected for
five years. A special feature is that almost exclusively
chairpersons (Matai) of family clans can be elected to
parliament. Two freely elected members are
representatives of the ethnic minorities. All citizens
over the age of 21 are entitled to vote.
The judicial system is based on English common law.
The country is divided into eleven districts.
The very open and market-oriented economy of Samoa
was able to significantly reduce its public debt within
a few years thanks to successfully implemented
structural reforms and prudent management with
The gross domestic product (GDP) accounts for 63% of
the service sector, 27% of the industrial sector and 10%
of agriculture, forestry and fisheries; over two thirds
of the workforce work in the latter area.
A major part of the exports are agricultural and
timber products, such as copra, taro, cocoa, fish, beer
and wood. Fishing is particularly important for the
country's economy. In addition, sweet potatoes,
breadfruit, maize and legumes are grown for own use, and
pigs and poultry are kept.
The industry is primarily concerned with the further
processing of food and the production of clothing and
auto parts. Samoa's main trading partners are Australia,
New Zealand, American Samoa, Singapore, China, Fiji and
the USA. The most important imported goods are petroleum
products, food, machinery and vehicles.
Tourism plays an important role for the island.
The main port and international airport is Apia on
the island of Upolu.
Currency is the tala.