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CIA - The World Factbook -- Solomon Islands
 
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Solomon Islands
Flag of Solomon Islands
Map of Solomon Islands
Introduction 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 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.
Geography Solomon Islands
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: 0.64%
permanent crops: 2%
other: 97.36% (2001)
Irrigated land:
NA
Natural hazards:
typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earth tremors; volcanic activity
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
People Solomon Islands
Population:
538,032 (July 2005 est.)
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.)
Median age:
total: 18.63 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 18.76 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.68% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
30.74 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
3.98 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 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: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
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.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.66 years
male: 70.16 years
female: 75.28 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.04 children born/woman (2005 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 is official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population
note: 120 indigenous languages
Literacy:
definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Solomon Islands
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Solomon Islands
former: British Solomon Islands
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Honiara
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 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
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
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal
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
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
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:
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.
Economy Solomon Islands
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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$800 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.8% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 42%
industry: 11%
services: 47% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
26,840 (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):
10% (2003 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $49.7 million
expenditures: $75.1 million, including capital expenditures of $0 (2003)
Agriculture - products:
cocoa beans, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs; timber; fish
Industries:
fish (tuna), mining, timber
Industrial production growth rate:
NA
Electricity - production:
32 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
29.76 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,250 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
NA
Exports:
$74 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
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)
Imports:
$67 million f.o.b. (2003)
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)
Debt - external:
$180.4 million (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
$28 million annually, mainly from Australia (2003 est.)
Currency (code):
Solomon Islands dollar (SBD)
Currency code:
SBD
Exchange rates:
Solomon Islands dollars per US dollar - 7.4847 (2004), 7.5059 (2003), 6.7488 (2002), 5.278 (2001), 5.0889 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Solomon Islands
Telephones - main lines in use:
6,600 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,000 (2002)
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)
Radios:
57,000 (1997)
Televisions:
3,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.sb
Internet hosts:
398 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
2,200 (2002)
Transportation Solomon Islands
Highways:
total: 1,360 km
paved: 34 km
unpaved: 1,326 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Honiara, Malloco Bay, Shortland Harbor, Viru Harbor, Yandina
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.)
Military Solomon Islands
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIP)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA
Transnational Issues Solomon Islands
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

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005


 


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