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Introduction - Tonga:

BackgroundTonga - 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 - Tonga:
LocationOceania, archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates20 00 S, 175 00 W

Map referencesOceania

Areatotal: 748 sq km
land: 718 sq km
water: 30 sq km

Area comparativefour times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries0 km

Coastline419 km

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

Climatetropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)

Terrainmost islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base

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

Natural resourcesfish, fertile soil

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

Irrigated landNA

Natural hazardscyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafoou

Environment current issuesdeforestation 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 agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, 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 notearchipelago of 169 islands (36 inhabited)

People - Tonga:
Population116,921 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure0-14 years: 34.6% (male 20,624/female 19,779)
15-64 years: 61.2% (male 35,551/female 36,052)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 2,087/female 2,828) (2007 est.)

Median agetotal: 21.3 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 21.8 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate1.847% (2007 est.)

Birth rate23.67 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.043 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.986 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.738 male(s)/female
total population: 0.993 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality ratetotal: 11.99 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 70.12 years
male: 67.6 years
female: 72.76 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate2.75 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rateNA

Hiv aids people living with hiv aidsNA

Hiv aids deathsNA

Nationalitynoun: Tongan(s)
adjective: Tongan

Ethnic groupsPolynesian, Europeans

ReligionsChristian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)

LanguagesTongan, English

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

Government - Tonga:
Country nameconventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
local long form: Puleanga Tonga
local short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands

Government typeconstitutional monarchy

Capitalname: Nukualofa
geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions3 island groups; Haapai, Tongatapu, Vavau

Independence4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)

National holidayEmancipation Day, 4 June (1970)

Constitution4 November 1875; revised 1 January 1967

Legal systembased on English common law

Suffrage21 years of age; universal

Executive branchchief 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 appointed by the monarch for life; four appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly, including two each from the nobles and peoples representatives serving three-year terms
note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the cabinet, and two governors
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the monarch

Legislative branchunicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (32 seats - 14 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio, nine for nobles selected by the countrys 33 nobles, and nine elected by popular vote; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held on 21 March 2005 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: Peoples Representatives: percent of vote - HRDMT 70%, other 30%; seats - HRDMT 7, independents 2

Judicial branchSupreme 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 leadersPeoples Democratic Party [Tesina FUKO]

Political pressure groups and leadersHuman Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chairman]; Public Servants Association [Finau TUTONE]

International organization participationACP, AsDB, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Fekitamoeloa UTOIKAMANU
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 usthe US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga

Flag descriptionred with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner

Economy - Tonga:
Economy overviewTonga has a small, open, South Pacific island economy. It has a narrow export base in agricultural goods. Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans are the main crops, and agricultural exports 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. 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 $178.5 million (2004 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate $244 million (2005 est.)

Gdp real growth rate2.4% (2005 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp $2,200 (2005 est.)

Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 23%
industry: 27%
services: 50% (FY03/04 est.)

Labor force33,910 (2003)

Labor force by occupationagriculture: 65%
industry and services: 35% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate13% (FY03/04 est.)

Population below poverty line24% (FY03/04)

Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices 11.1% (2005 est.)

Budgetrevenues: $56.97 million
expenditures: $83.88 million; including capital expenditures of $1.9 million (FY04/05)

Agriculture productssquash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish

Industriestourism, fishing

Industrial production growth rate1% (2003 est.)

Electricity production41 million kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption38.13 million kWh (2004)

Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)

Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil consumption900 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exportsNA bbl/day

Oil importsNA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves0 bbl

Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)

Current account balance-$4.321 million (FY04/05)

Exports$34 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Exports commoditiessquash, fish, vanilla beans, root crops

Exports partnersUS 41.8%, Japan 29.2%, NZ 8.6%, Fiji 4.2% (2006)

Imports$122 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports commoditiesfoodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, chemicals

Imports partnersFiji 30%, NZ 27.5%, US 8.2%, Australia 7.5%, France 5.6%, UK 4.6% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$40.83 million (yearend, FY04/05)

Debt external$80.7 million (2004)

Economic aid recipient$19.3 million (2004)

Currency code paanga (TOP)

Exchange ratespaanga per US dollar - 2.0277 (2006), 1.96 (2005), 1.9716 (2004), 2.142 (2003), 2.1952 (2002)

Communications - Tonga:
Fiscal year1 July - 30 June

Telephones main lines in use13,700 (2005)

Telephones mobile cellular29,900 (2005)

Telephone systemgeneral assessment: competition between Tonga Telecommunications Corporation (TCC) and Shoreline Communications Tonga (SCT) is accelerating expansion of telecommunications; SCT recently granted authority to develop high-speed digital service for telephone, Internet, and television
domestic: fully automatic switched network
international: country code - 676; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2004)

Radio broadcast stationsAM 1, FM 4, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television broadcast stations3 (2004)

Internet country code.to

Internet hosts18,775 (2006)

Internet users3,100 (2006)

Transportation - Tonga:
Airports6 (2006)

Airports with paved runwaystotal: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2006)

Roadwaystotal: 680 km
paved: 184 km
unpaved: 496 km (1999)

Merchant marinetotal: 16 ships (1000 GRT or over) 62,185 GRT/72,960 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 10, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 4 (Australia 1, Norway 1, Switzerland 1, UK 1) (2006)

Ports and terminalsNukualofa

Military - Tonga:
Military branchesTonga Defense Services: Land Force (Royal Guard), Naval Force (includes Royal Marines, Air Wing) (2006)

Military service age and obligation18 years of age (est.) (2004)

Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 25,420
females age 18-49: 24,827 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 19,840
females age 18-49: 21,342 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 1,586
females age 18-49: 1,538 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp0.9% (2006 est.)

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