Vanuatu

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Vanuatu
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Vanuatu
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Map of Vanuatu
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NO PHOTOS AVAILABLE OF VANUATU
 

Introduction

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Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides in the millennia preceding European exploration in the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.
 
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Geography

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Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia
 
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16 00 S, 167 00 E
 
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total: 12,189 sq km
country comparison to the world: 164
land: 12,189 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes more than 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited
 
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slightly larger than Connecticut
 
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0 km
 
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2,528 km
 
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measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
 
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tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April
 
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mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m
 
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manganese, hardwood forests, fish
 
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arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 6.97%
other: 91.39% (2005)
 
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NA
 
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tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began on 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis
volcanism: Vanuatu experiences significant volcanic activity, with many volcanoes erupting in recent years; Yasur (elev. 361 m), one of the world's most active volcanoes, has experienced continuous activity in recent centuries; other historically active volcanoes include, Aoba, Ambrym, Epi, Gaua, Kuwae, Lopevi, Suretamatai, and Traitor's Head
 
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most of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; deforestation
 
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party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes
 
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People and Society

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noun: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural)
adjective: Ni-Vanuatu
 
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Ni-Vanuatu 98.5%, other 1.5% (1999 Census)
 
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local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English (official) 1.9%, French (official) 1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7% (1999 Census)
 
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Protestant 55.6% (Presbyterian 31.4%, Anglican 13.4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%), Roman Catholic 13.1%, other Christian 13.8%, indigenous beliefs 5.6% (including Jon Frum cargo cult), other 9.6%, none 1%, unspecified 1.3% (1999 Census)
 
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224,564 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
 
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0-14 years: 29.6% (male 33,968/female 32,550)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 75,559/female 72,919)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 4,862/female 4,706) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 24.9 years
male: 24.9 years
female: 25 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.343% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
 
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20.86 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
 
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7.43 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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urban population: 26% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.05 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 46.85 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 53
male: 49.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 44.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 64.7 years
country comparison to the world: 170
male: 63.04 years
female: 66.44 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.39 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
 
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4% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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0.116 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 162
 
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1.69 beds/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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improved:
urban: 96% of population
rural: 79% of population
total: 83% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4% of population
rural: 21% of population
total: 17% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 66% of population
rural: 48% of population
total: 52% of population
unimproved:
urban: 34% of population
rural: 52% of population
total: 48% of population (2008)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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4.8% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 68
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74%
male: NA
female: NA (1999 census)
 
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total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 10 years (2004)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu
conventional short form: Vanuatu
local long form: Ripablik blong Vanuatu
local short form: Vanuatu
former: New Hebrides
 
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parliamentary republic
 
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name: Port-Vila (on Efate)
geographic coordinates: 17 44 S, 168 19 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea, Torba
 
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30 July 1980 (from France and the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 30 July (1980)
 
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30 July 1980
 
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mixed legal system of English common law, French law, and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Iolu Johnson ABBIL (since 3 September 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Sato KILMAN (since 26 June 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, responsible to parliament
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elections: president elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of parliament and the presidents of the regional councils; election for president last held on 2 September 2009 (next to be held in 2014); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by parliament from among its members; election for prime minister last held on 26 June 2011 following a supreme court decision nullifying KILMAN's December 2010 election; KILMAN defeated Vohor SERGE 29 to 23 (next to be held following general elections in 2012)
election results: Iolu Johnson ABBIL elected president, with 41 votes out of 58, on the third ballot on 2 September 2009
 
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unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 September 2008 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - VP 11, NUP 8, UMP 7, VRP 7, PPP 4, GC 2, MPP 1, NA 1, NAG 1, PAP 1, Shepherds Alliance 1, VFFP 1, VLP 1, VNP 1, VPRFP 1, and independent 4; note - political party associations are fluid
note: the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of culture and language
 
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Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission)
 
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Greens Confederation or GC [Moana CARCASSES]; Jon Frum Movement or JF [Song KEASPAI]; Melanesian Progressive Party or MPP [Barak SOPE]; Nagriamel movement or NAG [Havo MOLI]; Namangi Aute or NA [Paul TELUKLUK]; National United Party or NUP [Ham LINI]; People's Action Party or PAP [Peter VUTA]; People's Progressive Party or PPP [Sato KILMAN]; Shepherds Alliance Party [leader NA]; Union of Moderate Parties or UMP [Serge VOHOR]; Vanua'aku Pati (Our Land Party) or VP [Edward NATAPEI]; Vanuatu Family First Party or VFFP [Eta RORI]; Vanuatu Labor Party or VLP [Joshua KALSAKAU]; Vanuatu National Party or VNP [Issac HAMARILIU]; Vanuatu Republican Farmers Party or VPRFP [Jean RAVOU]; Vanuatu Republican Party or VRP [Maxime Carlot KORMAN]
 
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NA
 
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ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, IOC, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO (observer)
 
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Vanuatu does not have an embassy in the US; it does, however, have a Permanent Mission to the UN
 
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the US does not have an embassy in Vanuatu; the US ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu
 
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two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) all separated by a black-edged yellow stripe in the shape of a horizontal Y (the two points of the Y face the hoist side and enclose the triangle); centered in the triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele fern fronds, all in yellow; red represents the blood of boars and men, green the richness of the islands, and black the ni-Vanuatu people; the yellow Y-shape - which reflects the pattern of the islands in the Pacific Ocean - symbolizes the light of the Gospel spreading through the islands; the boar's tusk is a symbol of prosperity frequently worn as a pendant on the islands; the fern fronds represent peace
 
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boar's tusk
 
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name: "Yumi, Yumi, Yumi" (We, We, We)
lyrics/music: Francois Vincent AYSSAV
note: adopted 1980, the anthem is written in Bislama, a Creole language that mixes Pidgin English and French
 
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Economy

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This South Pacific island economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for about two-thirds of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with nearly 197,000 visitors in 2008, are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002, the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism through improved air connections, resort development, and cruise ship facilities. Agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a second target for growth. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of tourists and foreign aid.
 
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$1.137 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
$1.113 billion (2009 est.)
$1.075 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$693 million (2010 est.)
 
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2.2% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
3.5% (2009 est.)
6.2% (2008 est.)
 
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$5,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$5,100 (2009 est.)
$5,000 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 21.3%
industry: 10.4%
services: 68.3% (2010 est.)
 
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115,900 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 180
 
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agriculture: 65%
industry: 5%
services: 30% (2000 est.)
 
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1.7% (1999)
country comparison to the world: 10
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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21.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
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revenues: $78.7 million
expenditures: $72.23 million (2005 est.)
 
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11.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
 
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0.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
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2.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
4.2% (2009 est.)
 
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20% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
6% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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5.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
5.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$149.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
$117.8 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$607.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
$614.2 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$439.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
$378.8 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, fruits, vegetables; beef; fish
 
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food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning
 
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43 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
 
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39.99 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
 
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1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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761 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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-$60 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
 
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$40 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 199
 
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copra, beef, cocoa, timber, kava, coffee
 
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Thailand 57.4%, Japan 24.8% (2010)
 
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$156 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 207
 
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machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, fuels
 
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Australia 18.4%, Singapore 17.6%, Japan 12.9%, NZ 8.6%, Fiji 8.2%, China 6.2%, US 5.2%, New Caledonia 4.6% (2010)
 
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$161.4 million (2003)
country comparison to the world: 169
$148.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$81.2 million (2004)
country comparison to the world: 186
 
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vatu (VUV) per US dollar -
97.93 (2009)
NA (2007)
111.93 (2006)
NA (2005)
111.79 (2004)
 
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Communications

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5,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 213
 
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285,300 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 174
 
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general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 678; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
 
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1 state-owned television station; multi-channel pay TV is available; state-owned Radio Vanuatu operates 2 radio stations; 2 privately-owned radio broadcasters; programming from multiple international broadcasters is accessible (2008)
 
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.vu
 
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1,347 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 164
 
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17,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 198
 
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Transportation

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31 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 28
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 23 (2010)
 
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total: 1,070 km
country comparison to the world: 183
paved: 256 km
unpaved: 814 km (2000)
 
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total: 72
country comparison to the world: 59
by type: bulk carrier 35, cargo 5, container 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger 2, refrigerated cargo 26, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 70 (Australia 2, Belgium 1, Canada 5, Greece 4, Japan 44, Monaco 1, Norway 1, Poland 7, Russia 1, UAE 1, Ukraine 3) (2010)
 
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Forari Bay, Luganville (Santo, Espiritu Santo), Port-Vila
 
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Military

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no regular military forces; Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF; includes Police Maritime Wing (PMW)) (2009)
 
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males age 16-49: 62,216 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 43,331
females age 16-49: 44,927 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 2,323
female: 2,230 (2010 est.)
 
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NA
 
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Transnational Issues

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Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by Vanuatu and France
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