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Solomon Islands (2005)

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 Solomon Islands
Administrative divisions 9 provinces and 1 capital territory*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western
Age structure 0-14 years: 41.9% (male 114,860/female 110,404)

15-64 years: 54.9% (male 149,400/female 145,970)

65 years and over: 3.2% (male 8,371/female 9,027) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products cocoa beans, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs; timber; fish
Airports 33 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 31

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 9

under 914 m: 21 (2004 est.)
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. In June 2003, Prime Minister Sir Allen KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has been very effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.
Birth rate 30.74 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $49.7 million

expenditures: $75.1 million, including capital expenditures of $0 (2003)
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
Death rate 3.98 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $180.4 million (2002)
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 Collin David BECK

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

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

FAX: [1] (212) 661-8925
Disputes - international Australian Defense Force leads the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) at the invitation of the Solomon Islands' Government to maintain civil and political order and reinforce regional security
Economic aid - recipient $28 million annually, mainly from Australia (2003 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. Prior to the arrival of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), severe ethnic violence, the closing of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI has enabled a return to law and order, a new period of economic stability, and modest growth as the economy rebuilds.
Electricity - consumption 29.76 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - production 32 million kWh (2002)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups Melanesian 94.5%, Polynesian 3%, Micronesian 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 0.2% (1999 census)
Exchange rates Solomon Islands dollars per US dollar - 7.4847 (2004), 7.5059 (2003), 6.7488 (2002), 5.278 (2001), 5.0889 (2000)
Executive branch chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Nathaniel WAENA (since 7 July 2004)

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 (2002)
Exports $74 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports NA
Exports - commodities timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa
Exports - partners China 27.8%, South Korea 17.1%, Thailand 15.7%, Japan 9.7%, Philippines 4.8% (2004)
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 - composition by sector agriculture: 42%

industry: 11%

services: 47% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 5.8% (2003 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
Government - note June 2003 Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the intervention of Australia to aid in restoring order; parliament approved the request for intervention in July 2003; troops from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga arrived 24 July 2003. By the end of 2004 the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) had been scaled back to 302 police officers and 120 military in addition to civilian technical advisors.
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 (2002)
Imports $67 million f.o.b. (2003)
Imports NA
Imports - commodities food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners Australia 24.6%, Singapore 23.1%, New Zealand 7.7%, Fiji 4.8%, Papua New Guinea 4.7% (2004)
Independence 7 July 1978 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate NA
Industries fish (tuna), mining, timber
Infant mortality rate total: 21.29 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 24.27 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 18.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 10% (2003 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, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO
Irrigated land NA
Judicial branch Court of Appeal
Labor force 26,840 (1999)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 75%, industry 5%, services 20% (2000 est.)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 0.64%

permanent crops: 2%

other: 97.36% (2001)
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: 72.66 years

male: 70.16 years

female: 75.28 years (2005 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

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm
Military branches no regular military forces; 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 (2005 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 538,032 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line NA
Population growth rate 2.68% (2005 est.)
Ports and harbors Honiara, Malloco Bay, Shortland Harbor, Viru Harbor, Yandina
Radio broadcast stations AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (2004)
Religions Church of Melanesia 32.8%, Roman Catholic 19%, South Seas Evangelical 17%, Seventh-Day Adventist 11.2%, United Church 10.3%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.4%, other Christian 4.4%, other 2.4%, unspecified 0.3%, none 0.2% (1999 census)
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: 0.93 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Suffrage 21 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: NA

domestic: NA

international: country code - 677; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Telephones - main lines in use 6,600 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular 1,000 (2002)
Terrain mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
Total fertility rate 4.04 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate NA%
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