Solomon Islands Population: 584,578 (Country #193 to visit our BLOG)


 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.

 Geography
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
Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 S, 159 00 E
Area: total: 28,896 sq km land: 27,986 sq km water: 910 sq kmSize comparison: 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 Popomanaseu 2,310 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
Natural hazards: typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis volcanism: Tinakula (elev. 851 m) has frequent eruption activity, while an eruption of Savo (elev. 485 m) could affect the capital Honiara on nearby Guadalcanal
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
International Environment 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
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 People
Population: 584,578 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 37.8% (male 111,265/female 104,896) 15-64 years: 58.3% (male 169,873/female 163,621) 65 years and over: 3.9% (male 10,879/female 11,356) (2011 est.)
Median age: total: 21.1 years male: 20.9 years female: 21.3 years (2012 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.17% (2012 est.)
Birth rate: 27.46 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Death rate: 3.91 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 17.25 deaths/1,000 live births male: 19.65 deaths/1,000 live births female: 14.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.42 years male: 71.83 years female: 77.14 years (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.51 children born/woman (2012 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: Protestant 73.7% (Church of Melanesia 32.8%, South Seas Evangelical 17%, Seventh-Day Adventist 11.2%, United Church 10.3%, Christian Fellowship Church 2.4%), Roman Catholic 19%, 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
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 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 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:
Constitution: 7 July 1978
Legal system: mixed legal system of English common law and customary law
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 Gordon Darcy LILO (since 16 November 2011) 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; Gordon Darcy LILO elected on 16 November 2011
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 4 August 2010 (next to be held in 2014) election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – SIDP 14, OUR 4, SIPRA 3, RDP 3, IDP 2, DDP 2, PCP 1, PFP 1, RUPP 1, SILP 1, SINP 1, independents 17
Judicial branch: Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders: Direct Development Party or DDP [Dick HA’AMORI]; People’s Alliance Party or PAP [James MEKAB]; People’s Congress Party or PCP [Fred FONO]; People’s Federation Party or PFP [Rudolf DORA]; Ownership, Unity, and Responsibility Party or OUR [Manasseh SOGAVARE]; Reform Democratic Party or RDP [Danny PHILIP]; Rural and Urban Political Party or RUPP [Samuel MANETOALI]; Solomon Islands Democratic Party or SIDP [Steve ABANA]; Solomon Islands Liberal Party or SILP [Derek SIKUA]; Solomon Islands National Party or SINP [Francis HILLY]; 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, 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 the Solomon Islands; the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to the Solomon Islands
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 Economy
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): GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.747 billion (2011 est.) $1.599 billion (2010 est.) $1.494 billion (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $840 million (2011 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 9.3% (2011 est.) 7% (2010 est.) -4.7% (2009 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): GDP – per capita (PPP): $3,200 (2011 est.) $3,000 (2010 est.) $2,900 (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 37.7% industry: 6.4% services: 55.9% (2011 est.)
Labor force: 202,500 (2007)
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): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.4% (2011 est.) 1% (2010 est.)
Budget: revenues: $314.1 million expenditures: $261.7 million (2011 est.)
Agriculture – products: cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs; fish; timber
Industries: fish (tuna), mining, timber
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity – production: 78 million kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 72.54 million kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2009 est.)
Oil – production: 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – consumption: 2,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – imports: 1,485 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$207.9 million (2009 est.) -$372.6 million (2010 est.)
Exports: $226.5 million (2010 est.) $163.4 million
Exports – commodities: timber, fish, copra, palm oil, cocoa
Exports – partners: China 54%, Australia 12.5%, Thailand 4.6% (2011)
Imports: $360.3 million (2010 est.) $239.2 million (2009 est.)
Imports – commodities: food, plant and equipment, manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals
Imports – partners: Australia 27.3%, Singapore 26.4%, China 6.5%, Malaysia 5.1%, NZ 5.1% (2011)
Debt – external: $166 million (2004)
Exchange rates: Solomon Islands dollars (SBD) per US dollar – 7.855 (2011 est.) 8.07 (2010 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 8,400 (2009) country comparison to the world: 204
Cellular Phones in use: 30,000 (2009)
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:
Television broadcast stations:
Internet country code: .sb
Internet hosts: 4,354 (2010)
Internet users: 10,000 (2009)
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 Transportation
Airports: 36 (2012) country comparison to the world: 110
Airports (paved runways): total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)
Airports (unpaved runways): total: 35 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 9 under 914 m: 25 (2012)
Heliports: 3 (2012)
Roadways: total: 1,360 km paved: 33 km unpaved: 1,327 km note: includes 800 km of private plantation roads (2002)
Ports and terminals: Honiara, Malloco Bay, Viru Harbor, Tulaghi
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 Military
Military branches: no regular military forces; Solomon Islands Police Force (2009)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 142,913 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 118,921 females age 16-49: 118,164 (2010 est.)

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