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Samoa Economy

    Economy—overview: The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, private family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. Outside of a large automotive wire harness factory, the manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Tourism is an expanding sector; more than 70,0000 tourists visited the islands in 1996. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$470 million (1997 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 3.4% (1997 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,100 (1997 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 40%
    industry: 25%
    services: 35% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 82,500 (1991 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 65%, services 30%, industry 5% (1995 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    revenues: $52 million
    expenditures: $99 million, including capital expenditures of $37 million (FY96/97 est.)

    Industries: timber, tourism, food processing, fishing

    Industrial production growth rate: 14% (1996 est.)

    Electricity—production: 65 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 61.54%
    hydro: 38.46%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 65 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: coconuts, bananas, taro, yams

    Exports: $14.6 million (f.o.b., 1997)

    Exports—commodities: coconut oil and cream, copra, fish, beer

    Exports—partners: Australia 82%, New Zealand 6%, Slovakia, Germany, American Samoa (1996)

    Imports: $99.7 million (f.o.b., 1997)

    Imports—commodities: intermediate goods, food, capital goods

    Imports—partners: Australia 33%, New Zealand 25%, Japan 15%, Fiji 8%, US 8% (1996)

    Debt—external: $167 million (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $42.9 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 tala (WS$) = 100 sene

    Exchange rates: tala (WS$) per US$1—2.9011 (January 1999), 2.9429 (1998), 2.5562 (1997), 2.4618 (1996), 2.4722 (1995), 2.5349 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)