Independent State of Samoa

Country Report

New Zealand occupied the German protectorate of Western Samoa at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. It continued to administer the islands as a mandate and then as a trust territory until 1962, when the islands became the first Polynesian nation to reestablish independence in the 20th century. The country dropped the “Western” from its name in 1997.


In the late 2000s, Samoa began making efforts to more closely align with Australia and New Zealand. In 2009, Samoa changed its driving orientation to the left side of the road, in line with other Commonwealth countries. In 2011, Samoa jumped forward one day – skipping December 30 – by moving to the west of the International Date Line so that it was one hour ahead of New Zealand and three hours ahead of the east coast of Australia, rather than 23 and 21 hours behind, respectively.


Oceania, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.

Land Mass

2,831 km2

Official Languages


Population (2019)


Head of State

Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi




Parliamentary Republic


The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, tourism, agriculture, and fishing. It has a nominal GDP of $844 million. Agriculture, including fishing, furnishes 90% of exports, featuring fish, coconut oil, nonu products, and taro. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. Industry accounts for nearly 22% of GDP while employing less than 6% of the work force. The service sector accounts for nearly two-thirds of GDP and employs approximately 50% of the labor force. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 132,000 tourists visited the islands in 2013.

The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. In September 2009, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami severely damaged Samoa and nearby American Samoa, disrupting transportation and power generation, and resulting in about 200 deaths. In December 2012, extensive flooding and wind damage from Tropical Cyclone Evan killed four people, displaced over 6,000, and damaged or destroyed an estimated 1,500 homes on Samoa’s Upolu Island.

The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the country’s financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Foreign reserves are relatively healthy and inflation is low, but external debt is approximately 45% of GDP. Samoa became the 155th member of the WTO in May 2012, and graduated from least developed country status in January 2014.

Gross Domestic Product

USD 1,137 billion total
USD 5,700 per capita

Public Debt

49.1% of GDP

IDD Country Code


External Debt

USD 447.2 million


USD 27.5 million



Import - Partners

Australia 22.9%
New Zealand 22.8%
American Samoa 22.1%
Afghanistan 14.9%
USA 5.9%

Export - Partners

New Zealand 22%
Singapore 20.7%
USA 12.5%
China 10.1%
Australia 8.6%
Fiji 5.2%

Unemployment Rate


Population below poverty line