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Solomon Islands (2003)

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 Solomon Islands
Administrative divisions 9 provinces and 1 capital territory*; Central, Choiseul (Lauru), Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Rennell/Bellona, Temotu, Western
Age structure 0-14 years: 42.9% (male 111,333; female 107,062)

15-64 years: 54% (male 139,072; female 135,721)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 7,754; female 8,248) (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products cocoa beans, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs; timber; fish
Airports 32 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 30

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 20 (2002)
Area total: 28,450 sq km

land: 27,540 sq km

water: 910 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Maryland
Background The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on these islands. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society.
Birth rate 32.45 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Budget revenues: $38 million

expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001)
Capital Honiara
Climate tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather
Coastline 5,313 km
Constitution 7 July 1978
Country name conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Solomon Islands

former: British Solomon Islands
Currency Solomon Islands dollar (SBD)
Death rate 4.12 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Debt - external $137 million (2001 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US the US does not have an embassy in Solomon Islands (embassy closed July 1993); the ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Colin BECK

chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400L, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 599-6192, 6193

FAX: [1] (212) 661-8925
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - recipient $28 million mainly from Japan, Australia, China, and NZ (2001 est.)
Economy - overview The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of their livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. However, severe ethnic violence, the closing of key business enterprises, and an empty government treasury have led to serious economic disarray, indeed near collapse. Tanker deliveries of crucial fuel supplies (including those for electrical generation) have become sporadic due to the government's inability to pay and attacks against ships. Telecommunications are threatened by the nonpayment of bills and by the lack of technical and maintenance staff many of whom have left the country.
Electricity - consumption 29.76 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - production 32 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 100%

hydro: 0%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (2001)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m
Environment - current issues deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
Environment - international agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Ethnic groups Melanesian 93%, Polynesian 4%, Micronesian 1.5%, European 0.8%, Chinese 0.3%, other 0.4%
Exchange rates Solomon Islands dollars per US dollar - NA (2002), NA (2001), 5.09 (2000), 4.84 (1999), 4.82 (1998)
Executive branch chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir John LAPLI (since NA 1999)

head of government: Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA (since 17 December 2001); Deputy Prime Minister Snyder RINI (since 17 December 2001)

cabinet: Cabinet consists of 20 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of Parliament

elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of Parliament for up to five years; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by Parliament; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of Parliament
Exports 0 kWh (2001)
Exports $47 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa
Exports - partners Japan 21.2%, China 18.8%, South Korea 16.3%, Philippines 8.9%, Thailand 7.6%, Singapore 4.1% (2002)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description divided diagonally by a thin yellow stripe from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is blue with five white five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern; the lower triangle is green
GDP purchasing power parity - $800 million (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 42%

industry: 11%

services: 47% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate -10% (2001 est.)
Geographic coordinates 8 00 S, 159 00 E
Geography - note strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea
Highways total: 1,360 km

paved: 34 km

unpaved: 1,326 km (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2001)
Imports $82 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners Australia 31.3%, Singapore 19.7%, New Zealand 5.1%, Fiji 4.6%, Papua New Guinea 4.5% (2002)
Independence 7 July 1978 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate NA%
Industries fish (tuna), mining, timber
Infant mortality rate total: 22.88 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 26.03 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 19.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.8% (2001 est.)
International organization participation ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTrO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 1 (2000)
Irrigated land NA sq km
Judicial branch Court of Appeal
Labor force 26,842
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 75%, industry 5%, services 20% (2000 est.)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 1.5%

permanent crops: 0.64%

other: 97.86% (1998 est.)
Languages Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English is official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population

note: 120 indigenous languages
Legal system English common law, which is widely disregarded
Legislative branch unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members elected from single-member constituencies by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 5 December 2001 (next to be held not later than December 2005)

election results: percent of vote by party - PAP 40%, SIACC 40%, PPP 20%; seats by party - PAP 16, SIACC 13, PPP 2, SILP 1, independents 18
Life expectancy at birth total population: 72.1 years

male: 69.64 years

female: 74.68 years (2003 est.)
Literacy definition: NA

total population: NA%

male: NA%

female: NA%
Location Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
Map references Oceania
Maritime claims measured from claimed archipelagic baselines

continental shelf: 200 NM

exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

territorial sea: 12 NM
Merchant marine none (2002 est.)
Military branches no regular military forces; Solomon Islands National Reconnaissance and Surveillance Force; Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP)
Military expenditures - dollar figure $NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP NA%
National holiday Independence Day, 7 July (1978)
Nationality noun: Solomon Islander(s)

adjective: Solomon Islander
Natural hazards typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earth tremors; volcanic activity
Natural resources fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Political parties and leaders Association of Independents [Snyder RINI]; People's Alliance Party or PAP [Allan KEMAKEZA]; People's Progressive Party or PPP [Mannaseh Damukana SOGAVARE]; Solomon Islands Alliance for Change Coalition or SIACC [Bartholomew ULUFA'ALU]; Solomon Islands Labor Party or SILP [Joses TUHANUKU]

note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 509,190 (July 2003 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 2.83% (2003 est.)
Ports and harbors Aola Bay, Honiara, Lofung, Noro, Viru Harbor, Yandina
Radio broadcast stations AM 3, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1998)
Railways 0 km
Religions Anglican 45%, Roman Catholic 18%, United (Methodist/Presbyterian) 12%, Baptist 9%, Seventh-Day Adventist 7%, other Protestant 5%, indigenous beliefs 4%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Suffrage 21 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: NA

domestic: NA

international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 8,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 658 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 0 (1997)
Terrain mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
Total fertility rate 4.34 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate NA%
Waterways none
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