New Caledonia

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Introduction - New Caledonia:


New Caledonia


Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s ended in the 1998 Noumea Accord, which over a period of 15 to 20 years will transfer an increasing amount of governing responsibility from France to New Caledonia. The agreement also commits France to conduct as many as three referenda between 2013 and 2018, to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.

Location - New Caledonia:


Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia

Geographic coordinates

21 30 S, 165 30 E

Map references



total: 19,060 sq km
land: 18,575 sq km
water: 485 sq km

Area comparative

slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries

0 km


2,254 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid


coastal plains with interior mountains

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m

Natural resources

nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper

Land use

arable land: 0.32%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 99.46% (2005)

Irrigated land

100 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

cyclones, most frequent from November to March

Environment current issues

erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires

Geography note

consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls

People - New Caledonia:


221,943 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 27.9% (male 31,578/female 30,270)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 72,821/female 72,109)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 7,047/female 8,118) (2007 est.)

Dependency status

territorial collectivity of France since 1998

Median age

total: 28.1 years
male: 27.7 years
female: 28.5 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

1.203% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

17.75 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

5.72 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.043 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.868 male(s)/female
total population: 1.009 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 7.42 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.12 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 74.5 years
male: 71.52 years
female: 77.63 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.25 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate


Hiv aids people living with hiv aids


Hiv aids deaths



noun: New Caledonian(s)
adjective: New Caledonian

Ethnic groups

Melanesian 42.5%, European 37.1%, Wallisian 8.4%, Polynesian 3.8%, Indonesian 3.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other 3%


Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%


French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.2%
male: 96.8%
female: 95.5% (1996 census)

Government - New Caledonia:

Country name

conventional long form: Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
conventional short form: New Caledonia
local long form: Territoire des Nouvelle-Caledonie et Dependances
local short form: Nouvelle-Caledonie

Government type



name: Noumea
geographic coordinates: 22 16 S, 166 27 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 3 provinces named Province des Iles, Province Nord, and Province Sud


none (overseas territory of France); note - a referendum on independence was held in 1998 but did not pass; a new referendum is scheduled for 2014

National holiday

Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)


4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system

based on French civil law; the 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007); represented by High Commissioner Michel MATHIEU (since 15 July 2005)
head of government: President of the Government Harold MARTIN (since 7 August 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet consisting of 11 members elected from and by the Territorial Congress
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the government elected by the members of the Territorial Congress for a five-year term (no term limits); note - last election held 7 August 2007 when Harold MARTIN was elected following the resignation of Marie-Noelle THEMEREAU as president on 24 July 2007 (next to be held in 2012)

Legislative branch

unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres du territoire (54 seats; members belong to the three Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 9 May 2004 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPCR-UMP 16, AE 16, UNI-FLNKS 8, UC 7, FN 4, others 3
note: New Caledonia currently holds one seat in the French Senate; by 2010, New Caledonia will gain a second seat in the French Senate; elections last held 24 September 2001 (next to be held not later than September 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1; New Caledonia also elects two seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held 10 and 17 June 2007 (next to be held on June 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2

Judicial branch

Court of Appeal or Cour dAppel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Childrens Court

Political parties and leaders

Alliance pour la Caledonie or APLC [Didier LE ROUX]; Caledonian Union or UC; Federation des Comites de Coordination des Independantistes or FCCI [Francois BURCK]; Front National or FN [Guy GEORGE]; Front Uni de Liberation Kanak or FULK [Ernest UNE]; Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM); Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE and Elie POIGOUNE]; Rally for Caledonia in the Republic (anti independence) or RPCR-UMP [Jacques LAFLEUR]; The Future Together or AE [Harold MARTIN]; Union Nationale pour lIndependance or UNI [Paul NEAOUTYINE]; note - may no longer exist, but Paul NEAOUTYINE has since become a president of Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA; Union Progressiste Melanesienne or UPM [Victor TUTUGORO]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation

ITUC, PIF (observer), SPC, UPU, WFTU, WMO

Diplomatic representation in the us

none (overseas territory of France)

Diplomatic representation from the us

none (overseas territory of France)

Flag description

the flag of France is used

Economy - New Caledonia:

Economy overview

New Caledonia has about 25% of the worlds known nickel resources. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, substantial financial support from France - equal to more than 15% of GDP - and tourism are keys to the health of the economy. Substantial new investment in the nickel industry, combined with the recovery of global nickel prices, brightens the economic outlook for the next several years.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$3.158 billion (2003 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$3.3 billion (2003 est.)

Gdp real growth rate


Gdp per capita ppp

$15,000 (2003 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 15%
industry: 8.8%
services: 76.2% (2003)

Labor force

78,990 (2004)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 20%
industry: 20%
services: 60% (2002)

Unemployment rate

17.1% (2004)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices

1.4% (2000 est.)


revenues: $996 million
expenditures: $1.072 billion (2001 est.)

Agriculture products

vegetables; beef, deer, other livestock products; fish


nickel mining and smelting

Industrial production growth rate

-0.6% (1996)

Electricity production

1.675 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

1.558 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

0 kWh (2004)

Oil production

0 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil consumption

10,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2004 est.)


$1.085 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports commodities

ferronickels, nickel ore, fish

Exports partners

Japan 17.3%, France 13.3%, China 10.8%, Taiwan 10.1%, Spain 9.4%, South Korea 8.9%, Belgium 7.3%, Italy 6%, Australia 4.6% (2006)


$1.78 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports commodities

machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs

Imports partners

France 39.1%, Singapore 15.4%, Australia 11.5%, NZ 4.9% (2006)

Debt external

$79 million (1998 est.)

Economic aid recipient

$525 million annual subsidy from France (2004)

Currency code

Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (XPF)

Exchange rates

Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - 95.025 (2006), 95.89 (2005), 96.04 (2004), 105.66 (2003), 126.71 (2002)

Communications - New Caledonia:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

55,300 (2005)

Telephones mobile cellular

134,300 (2005)

Telephone system

general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

6 (plus 25 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

13,962 (2006)

Internet users

80,000 (2006)

Transportation - New Caledonia:


25 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 2 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 6 (2006)


6 (2006)


total: 5,432 km (2000)

Merchant marine

total: 2 ships (1000 GRT or over) 3,566 GRT/2,543 DWT
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 1 (2006)

Ports and terminals


Military - New Caledonia:

Military branches

no regular indigenous military forces; French Armed Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie); Police Force

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 50,874 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 40,822 (2005 est.)

Military note

defense is the responsibility of France

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 1,907 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp


This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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