French Polynesia

French Polynesia

Country Report

The French annexed various Polynesian island groups during the 19th century. In 1966, the French Government began testing nuclear weapons on the uninhabited Mururoa Atoll; following mounting opposition, the tests were moved underground in 1975. In September 1995, France stirred up widespread protests by resuming nuclear testing after a three-year moratorium. The tests were halted in January 1996. In recent years, French Polynesia’s autonomy has been considerably expanded.


Oceania, five archipelagoes (Archipel des Tuamotu, Iles Gambier, Iles Marquises, Iles Tubuai, Society Islands) in the South Pacific Ocean about halfway between South America and Australia.

Land Mass

4,167 km2

Official Languages


Population (2019)


Head of State

Édouard Fritch




Parliamentary Dependency


Since 1962, when France stationed military personnel in the region, French Polynesia has changed from a subsistence agricultural economy to one in which a high proportion of the work force is either employed by the military or supports the tourist industry. With the halt of French nuclear testing in 1996, the military contribution to the economy fell sharply.

After growing at an average yearly rate of 4.2% from 1997-2007, the economic and financial crisis in 2008 marked French Polynesia’s entry into recession. However, since2014, French Polynesia has shown signs of recovery. Business turnover reached 1.8% year-on-year in September 2016, tourism increased 1.8% in 2015, and GDP grew 2.0% in 2015.

French Polynesia’s tourism-dominated service sector accounted for 85% of total value added for the economy in 2012. Tourism employs 17% of the workforce. Pearl farming is the second biggest industry, accounting for 54% of exports in 2015; however, the output has decreased to 12.5 tons – the lowest level since 2008. A small manufacturing sector predominantly processes commodities from French Polynesia’s primary sector – 8% of total economy in 2012 – including agriculture and fishing.

France has agreed to finance infrastructure, marine businesses, and cultural and ecological sites at roughly $80 million per year between 2015 and 2020. Japan, the US, and China are French Polynesia’s three largest trade partners.

Gross Domestic Product

USD 5.49 billion total
USD 17,000 per capita

Public Debt


IDD Country Code


External Debt



1.245 billion


CFP Frank (XPF)

Import - Partners

Japan 23.1%
Hong Kong 21.5%
Kyrgyzstan 15.9%
USA 15.9%
France 12.4%

Export - Partners

France 27.9%
South Korea 12.1%
USA 10.1%
China 7.3%
New Zealand 6.7%
Singapore 4.2%

Unemployment Rate


Population below poverty line



French Polynesia