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Solomon Islands

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Background:
The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. 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, then Prime Minister Sir Allan 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 generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.



Location:
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea

Geographic coordinates:
8 00 S, 159 00 E

Map references:
Oceania

Area:
total: 28,896 sq km
country comparison to the world: 143
land: 27,986 sq km
water: 910 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
5,313 km

Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm

Climate:
Current Weather
tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather

Terrain:
mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m

Natural resources:
fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel

Land use:
arable land: 0.62%
permanent crops: 2.04%
other: 97.34% (2005)

Irrigated land:
NA

Total renewable water resources:
44.7 cu km (1987)

Natural hazards:
typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis

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

Geography - note:
strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara; the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit



Population:
609,794 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167

Age structure:
0-14 years: 38.8% (male 120,695/female 115,891)
15-64 years: 57.7% (male 177,725/female 173,848)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 10,206/female 11,429) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 20 years
male: 19.8 years
female: 20.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
2.315% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35

Birth rate:
26.87 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55

Death rate:
3.73 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208

Net migration rate:
NA (2009 est.)

Urbanization:
urban population: 18% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

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: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.41 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 104
male: 20.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.94 years
country comparison to the world: 106
male: 71.37 years
female: 76.63 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
3.39 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Nationality:
noun: Solomon Islander(s)
adjective: Solomon Islander

Ethnic groups:
Melanesian 94.5%, Polynesian 3%, Micronesian 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 0.2% (1999 census)

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)

Languages:
Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English (official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population); 120 indigenous languages

Literacy:
NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 8 years
male: 9 years
female: 8 years (2005)

Education expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 137



Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Solomon Islands
local long form: none
local short form: Solomon Islands
former: British Solomon Islands

Government type:
parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Capital:
name: Honiara
geographic coordinates: 9 26 S, 159 57 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
9 provinces and 1 capital territory*; Central, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Honiara*, Isabel, Makira, Malaita, Rennell and Bellona, Temotu, Western

Independence:
7 July 1978 (from the UK)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 7 July (1978)

Constitution:
7 July 1978

Legal system:
English common law, which is widely disregarded; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:
21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Frank KABUI (since 7 July 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Derek SIKUA (since 20 December 2007); note - Prime Minister Manasseh SOGAVARE defeated in a no confidence vote in parliament on 13 December 2007; SIKUA elected on 20 December 2007
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 20 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister from among the members of parliament
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of parliament for up to five years (eligible for a second term); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition 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

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament (50 seats; members elected from single-member constituencies by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 5 April 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - National Party 6.9%, PAP 6.3%, SIPRA 6.3%, Liberal 5%, Democratic 4.9%, SOCRED 4.3%, LAFARI 2.8%, independents 60.3%; seats by party - National Party 4, SIPRA 4, Democratic 3, PAP 3, LAFARI 2, Liberal 2, SOCRED 2, independents 30

Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders:
Association of Independent Members or AIM [Thomas CHAN]; Christian Alliance Solomon Islands or CASI [Edward RONIA]; LAFARI Party [John GARO]; National Party [Francis HILLY]; People's Alliance Party or PAP [Sir Allan KEMAKEZA]; Social Credit Party or SOCRED [Manasseh Damukana SOGAVARE]; Solomon First Party [David QUAN]; Solomon Islands Democratic Party [Gabriel SURI]; Solomon Islands Labor Party or SILP [Joses TUHANUKU]; Solomon Islands Liberal Party [Bartholomew ULUFA'ALU]; Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement or SIPRA [Job D. TAUSINGA]; United Party [Sir Peter KENILOREA]
note: in general, Solomon Islands politics is characterized by fluid coalitions

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM); Malaita Eagle Force (MEF); note - these rival armed ethnic factions crippled the Solomon Islands in a wave of violence from 1999 to 2003

International organization participation:
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WTO

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in the Solomon Islands; the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands

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; blue represents the ocean; green the land; and yellow sunshine; the five stars stand for the five main island groups of the Solomon Islands

Government - note:
by the end of 2007, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) - originally made up of police and troops from Australia, NZ, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga - had been scaled back to 303 police officers, 197 civilian technical advisers, and 72 military advisers from 15 countries across the region



Economy - overview:
The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of its 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 RAMSI, severe ethnic violence, the closing of key businesses, and an empty government treasury culminated in economic collapse. RAMSI's efforts to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.57 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
$1.564 billion (2008 est.)
$1.458 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$675.8 million (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
0.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
7.3% (2008 est.)
10.3% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$2,600 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
$2,700 (2008 est.)
$2,600 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 42%
industry: 11%
services: 47% (2005 est.)

Labor force:
202,500 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 169

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 75%
industry: 5%
services: 20% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:
NA%

Population below poverty line:
NA%

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

Budget:
revenues: $49.7 million
expenditures: $75.1 million (2003)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
14.44% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 55
14.12% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$86.96 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 156
$94 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$96.79 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 156
$85.47 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$166.1 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 131
$126.5 million (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:
cocoa beans, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit; timber; cattle, pigs; fish

Industries:
fish (tuna), mining, timber

Industrial production growth rate:
NA%

Electricity - production:
71 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195

Electricity - consumption:
66.03 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130

Oil - consumption:
2,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183

Oil - imports:
1,323 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131

Current account balance:
-$143 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81

Exports:
$237 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 177

Exports - commodities:
timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa

Exports - partners:
China 54.07%, South Korea 6.19%, Philippines 6.04%, Spain 4.87% (2009)

Imports:
$256 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 197

Imports - commodities:
food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners:
Singapore 24.69%, Australia 23.06%, NZ 5.2%, Fiji 4.47%, Papua New Guinea 4.34%, Malaysia 3.98% (2009)

Debt - external:
$166 million (2004)
country comparison to the world: 176

Exchange rates:
Solomon Islands dollars (SBD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 7.3447 (2006), 7.5299 (2005), 7.4847 (2004), 7.5059 (2003)



Telephones - main lines in use:
8,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 207

Telephones - mobile cellular:
30,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 203

Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: mobile-cellular telephone density is about 5 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 677; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 (2004)

Internet country code:
.sb

Internet hosts:
4,067 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 136

Internet users:
10,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 199



Airports:
36 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 107

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 34
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 25 (2009)

Heliports:
3 (2009)

Roadways:
total: 1,360 km
country comparison to the world: 177
paved: 33 km
unpaved: 1,327 km
note: includes 800 km of private plantation roads (2002)

Ports and terminals:
Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor



Military branches:
no regular military forces; Solomon Islands Police Force (2009)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 150,987 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 125,928
females age 16-49: 126,999 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 7,256
female: 6,995 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 45



Disputes - international:
since 2003, RAMSI, consisting of police, military, and civilian advisors drawn from 15 countries, has assisted in reestablishing and maintaining civil and political order while reinforcing regional stability and security

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 5,400 (displaced by tsunami on 2 April 2007) (2007)

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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