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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
Solomon Islands
 
Flag of Solomon Islands                                Map of Solomon Islands
 
Background:The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest 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 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 generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.
  
Geography
  
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: 28,450 sq km
land: 27,540 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: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
  
People
  
Population:566,842 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 40.7% (male 117,739/female 113,125)
15-64 years: 55.9% (male 160,310/female 156,773)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 9,036/female 9,859) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 19.1 years
male: 19 years
female: 19.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:2.54% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:29.27 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:3.87 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.041 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.023 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.917 male(s)/female
total population: 1.026 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 19.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 73.16 years
male: 70.64 years
female: 75.81 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:3.78 children born/woman (2007 est.)
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:definition: NA
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
  
Government
  
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
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 UK)
National holiday:Independence Day, 7 July (1978)
Constitution:7 July 1978
Legal system:English common law, which is widely disregarded
Suffrage:21 years of age; universal
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 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
elections: none; the monarch 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 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
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, 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, WFTU, 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 Solomon Islands (embassy closed July 1993); the 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
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
  
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 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's efforts to restore law and order and economic stability have led to modest growth as the economy rebuilds.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$800 million (2002 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$358 million (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:4.4% (2005 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$600 (2005 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 42%
industry: 11%
services: 47% (2000 est.)
Labor force:249,200 (1999)
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%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):6.6% (2005 est.)
Budget:revenues: $49.7 million
expenditures: $75.1 million (2003)
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:60 million kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:55.8 million kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:0 kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:0 kWh (2005)
Oil—production:0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:1,300 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:1,296 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Exports:$237 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports—commodities:timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa
Exports—partners:China 48%, South Korea 9.5%, Japan 8.9%, Thailand 4.7%, Italy 4.4%, Philippines 4.2% (2006)
Imports:$256 million f.o.b. (2006)
Imports—commodities:food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals
Imports—partners:Australia 25.5%, Singapore 23.5%, Japan 7.8%, NZ 5.1%, Fiji 4.2%, Papua New Guinea 4.1% (2006)
Debt—external:$166 million (2004)
Economic aid—recipient:$198.2 million annually, mainly from Australia (2005 est.)
Currency (code):Solomon Islands dollar (SBD)
Exchange rates:Solomon Islands dollars per US dollar - NA (2007), 7.3447 (2006), 7.5299 (2005), 7.4847 (2004), 7.5059 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
  
Communications
  
Telephones—main lines in use:7,400 (2005)
Telephones—mobile cellular:6,000 (2005)
Telephone system:general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
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:3,414 (2007)
Internet users:8,000 (2006)
  
Transportation
  
Airports:35 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 23 (2007)
Heliports:3 (2007)
Roadways:total: 1,360 km
paved: 34 km
unpaved: 1,326 km (1999)
Ports and terminals:Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor
  
Military
  
Military branches:no regular military forces; Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 114,253 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 92,796 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 6,033 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:3% (2006)
  
Transnational Issues
  
Disputes—international:since 2003, the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (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

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