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Tonga

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Background:
Tonga - unique among Pacific nations - never completely lost its indigenous governance. The archipelagos of "The Friendly Islands" were united into a Polynesian kingdom in 1845. Tonga became a constitutional monarchy in 1875 and a British protectorate in 1900; it withdrew from the protectorate and joined the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.



Location:
Oceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates:
20 00 S, 175 00 W

Map references:
Oceania

Area:
total: 747 sq km
country comparison to the world: 189
land: 717 sq km
water: 30 sq km

Area - comparative:
four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
419 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate:
Current Weather
tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)

Terrain:
most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m

Natural resources:
fish, fertile soil

Land use:
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 14.67%
other: 65.33% (2005)

Irrigated land:
NA

Natural hazards:
cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou

Environment - current issues:
deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:
archipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)



Population:
122,580 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188

Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.9% (male 19,970/female 19,136)
15-64 years: 63.8% (male 38,964/female 39,208)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 2,183/female 3,119) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 22.7 years
male: 22.3 years
female: 23.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.282% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97

Birth rate:
17.78 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Death rate:
4.95 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189

Net migration rate:
NA

Urbanization:
urban population: 25% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% 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: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 11.28 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 146
male: 12.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.03 years
country comparison to the world: 140
male: 68.46 years
female: 73.73 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

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

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Nationality:
noun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan

Ethnic groups:
Polynesian, Europeans

Religions:
Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)

Languages:
Tongan, English

Literacy:
definition: can read and write Tongan and/or English
total population: 98.9%
male: 98.8%
female: 99% (1999 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2004)

Education expenditures:
5% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 71



Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
local long form: Pule'anga Tonga
local short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

Capital:
name: Nuku'alofa
geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u

Independence:
4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)

National holiday:
Emancipation Day, 4 June (1970)

Constitution:
4 November 1875; revised 1 January 1967

Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:
21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: King George TUPOU V (since 11 September 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Feleti SEVELE (since 11 February 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Viliami TANGI (since 16 May 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 14 members, 10 are appointed by the monarch for life; 4 appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly, including 2 each from the nobles' and peoples' representatives serving three-year terms
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the cabinet, and 2 governors
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (32 seats - 14 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio, 9 for nobles selected by the country's 33 nobles, 9 members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held on 23-24 April 2008 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - independents 54%, THRDM 28%, PDP 14%; seats - THRDM 4, independents 3, PDP 2

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal (Chief Justice and high court justices from overseas chosen and approved by Privy Council)

Political parties and leaders:
People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tesina FUKO]; Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement or THRDM [Uliti UATA]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]; Public Servant's Association [Finau TUTONE]

International organization participation:
ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sonatane Tu'akinamolahi TAUMOEPEAU-TUPOU
chancery: 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (917) 369-1025
FAX: [1] (917) 369-1024
consulate(s) general: San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga

Flag description:
red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross reflects the deep-rooted Christianity in Tonga; red represents the blood of Christ and his sacrifice; white signifies purity



Economy - overview:
Tonga has a small, open, South Pacific island economy. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, vanilla beans, and yams are the main crops. Agricultural exports, including fish, make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The country remains dependent on external aid and remittances from Tongan communities overseas to offset its trade deficit. Tourism is the second-largest source of hard currency earnings following remittances. Tonga had 39,000 visitors in 2006. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment, and is committing increased funds for health and education. Tonga has a reasonably sound basic infrastructure and well developed social services. High unemployment among the young, a continuing upturn in inflation, pressures for democratic reform, and rising civil service expenditures are major issues facing the government.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$551.7 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
$554.5 million (2008 est.)
$550.1 million (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$262 million (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-0.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
0.8% (2008 est.)
-0.3% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,600 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$4,700 (2008 est.)
$4,700 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 25%
industry: 17%
services: 57% (FY05/06 est.)

Labor force:
39,960 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 195

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 31.8%
industry: 30.6%
services: 2,003% (2003 est.)

Unemployment rate:
13% (FY03/04 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138

Population below poverty line:
24% (FY03/04)

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

Budget:
revenues: $80.48 million
expenditures: $109.8 million (FY07/08 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.9% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
12.46% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 73
12.16% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$36.16 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 159
$46.38 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$100.7 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 155
$106.8 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$NA (31 December 2008)
$163.1 million (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Agriculture - products:
squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish

Industries:
tourism, construction, fishing

Industrial production growth rate:
1% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66

Electricity - production:
43 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199

Electricity - consumption:
39.99 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

Oil - consumption:
1,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Oil - imports:
1,173 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108

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

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

Current account balance:
-$23 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64

Exports:
$22 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 204

Exports - commodities:
squash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops

Exports - partners:
Hong Kong 25.42%, US 22.65%, Japan 12.21%, NZ 7.31%, Fiji 7.2%, Samoa 6.06%, South Korea 4.48% (2009)

Imports:
$139 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 206

Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Imports - partners:
Fiji 34.37%, NZ 25.03%, US 9.43%, Australia 7.53%, China 5.64% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$40.83 million (FY04/05)
country comparison to the world: 153

Debt - external:
$80.7 million (2004)
country comparison to the world: 182

Exchange rates:
pa'anga (TOP) per US dollar - NA (2007), 2.0277 (2006), 1.96 (2005), 1.9716 (2004), 2.142 (2003)



Telephones - main lines in use:
25,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 183

Telephones - mobile cellular:
50,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 193

Telephone system:
general assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT granted approval to introduce high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television while TCC has exclusive rights to operate the mobile-phone network; international telecom services are provided by government-owned Tonga Telecommunications International (TTI)
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 60 telephones per 100 persons; fully automatic switched network
international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2007)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:
3 (2004)

Internet country code:
.to

Internet hosts:
20,107 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 104

Internet users:
8,400 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 201



Airports:
6 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 172

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2009)

Roadways:
total: 680 km
country comparison to the world: 189
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 496 km (2000)

Merchant marine:
total: 13
country comparison to the world: 109
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 8, carrier 1, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 4 (Australia 1, Cyprus 1, Switzerland 1, UK 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Nuku'alofa



Military branches:
Tonga Defense Services (TDS): Land Force (Royal Guard), Naval Force (includes Royal Marines, Air Wing) (2009)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 34,254
females age 16-49: 32,974 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 27,404
females age 16-49: 28,509 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 1,448
female: 1,392 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141



Disputes - international:
none

 

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

 

 

 

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