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page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Samoa
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Samoa
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Map of Samoa
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Introduction ::Samoa
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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.
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Geography ::Samoa
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Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
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13 35 S, 172 20 W
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total: 2,831 sq km
country comparison to the world: 177
land: 2,821 sq km
water: 10 sq km
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slightly smaller than Rhode Island
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0 km
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403 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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tropical; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October)
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two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mauga Silisili (Savaii) 1,857 m
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hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
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arable land: 21.13%
permanent crops: 24.3%
other: 54.57% (2005)
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NA
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occasional typhoons; active volcanism
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soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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occupies an almost central position within Polynesia
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People ::Samoa
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219,998
country comparison to the world: 184
note: prior estimates used official net migration data by sex, but a highly unusual pattern for 1993 lead to a significant imbalance in the sex ratios (more men and fewer women) and a seeming reduction in the female population; the revised total was calculated using a 1993 number that was an average of the 1992 and 1994 migration figures (July 2009 est.)
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0-14 years: 37.6% (male 42,117/female 40,603)
15-64 years: 56.7% (male 65,541/female 59,292)
65 years and over: 5.7% (male 5,538/female 6,907) (2009 est.)
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total: 20.8 years
male: 21 years
female: 20.5 years (2009 est.)
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1.346% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
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28.06 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
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5.79 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
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-8.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
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urban population: 23% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 24.22 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 90
male: 28.61 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 71.86 years
country comparison to the world: 124
male: 69.03 years
female: 74.84 years (2009 est.)
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4.16 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
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NA
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NA
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NA
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noun: Samoan(s)
adjective: Samoan
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Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians (persons of European and Polynesian blood) 7%, Europeans 0.4% (2001 census)
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Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, Worship Centre 1.3%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.9%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
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Samoan (Polynesian), English
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.6%
female: 99.7% (2003 est.)
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total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2001)
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4.3% of GDP (2002)
country comparison to the world: 95
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Government ::Samoa
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conventional long form: Independent State of Samoa
conventional short form: Samoa
local long form: Malo Sa'oloto Tuto'atasi o Samoa
local short form: Samoa
former: Western Samoa
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parliamentary democracy
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name: Apia
geographic coordinates: 13 50 S, 171 44 W
time difference: UTC-11 (6 hours behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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11 districts; A'ana, Aiga-i-le-Tai, Atua, Fa'asaleleaga, Gaga'emauga, Gagaifomauga, Palauli, Satupa'itea, Tuamasaga, Va'a-o-Fonoti, Vaisigano
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1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)
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Independence Day Celebration, 1 June (1962); note - 1 January 1962 is the date of independence from the New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship; it is observed in June
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1 January 1962
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based on English common law and local customs; judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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21 years of age; universal
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chief of state: TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi (since 20 June 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA (since 1998); Deputy Prime Minister MISA Telefoni (since 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet consists of 12 members appointed by the chief of state on the prime minister's advice
elections: chief of state is elected by the Legislative Assembly to serve a five-year term (no term limits); election last held 15 June 2007 (next to be held in 2012); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually appointed prime minister by the chief of state with the approval of the Legislative Assembly
election results: TUIATUA Tupua Tamasese Efi unanimously elected by the Legislative Assembly
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unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fono (49 seats, 47 elected by voters affiliated with traditional village-based electoral districts, 2 elected by independent, mostly non-Samoan or part-Samoan, voters who cannot, (or choose not to) establish a village affiliation; only chiefs (matai) may stand for election to the Fono from the 47 village-based electorates; members serve five-year terms)
elections: election last held 31 March 2006 (next election to be held not later than March 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - HRPP 35, SDUP 10, independents 4
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Court of Appeal; Supreme Court; District Court; Land and Titles Court
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Human Rights Protection Party or HRPP [Sailele Malielegaoi TUILA'EPA]; Samoa Christian Party or TCP [Tuala Tiresa MALIETOA]; Samoa Democratic United Party or SDUP [LE MAMEA Ropati]; Samoa Party or SP [Su'a Rimoni Ah CHONG]; Samoa Progressive Political Party or SPPP [Toeolesulusulu SIUEVA]
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NA
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ACP, ADB, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
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chief of mission: Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi ELISAIA
chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017
telephone: [1] (212) 599-6196 through 6197
FAX: [1] (212) 599-0797
consulate(s) general: Pago Pago (American Samoa)
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chief of mission: none; US Ambassador to New Zealand is accredited to Samoa
embassy: Accident Corporation Building, 5th Floor, Matafele, Apia
mailing address: P. O. Box 3430, Matafele, Apia
telephone: [685] 21436/21631/21452/22696
FAX: [685] 22030
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red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation
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Economy ::Samoa
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The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, family remittances from overseas, agriculture, and fishing. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, and copra. The fish catch declined during the El Nino of 2002-03 but returned to normal by mid-2005. The manufacturing sector mainly processes agricultural products. One factory in the Foreign Trade Zone employs 3,000 people to make automobile electrical harnesses for an assembly plant in Australia. Tourism is an expanding sector accounting for 25% of GDP; 122,000 tourists visited the islands in 2007. The Samoan Government has called for deregulation of the financial sector, encouragement of investment, and continued fiscal discipline, while at the same time protecting the environment. Observers point to the flexibility of the labor market as a basic strength for future economic advances. Foreign reserves are in a relatively healthy state, the external debt is stable, and inflation is low.
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$1.049 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
$1.046 billion (2007 est.)
$985.8 million (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$537 million (2008 est.)
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0.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
6.1% (2007 est.)
1.9% (2006 est.)
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$4,800 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$4,900 (2007 est.)
$4,700 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 11.6%
industry: 13.1%
services: 75.3% (2004 est.)
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66,270 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
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agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
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NA%
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NA%
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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revenues: $171.3 million
expenditures: $78.1 million (FY04/05 est.)
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6% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 66
12.65% (31 December 2007)
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$60.13 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 167
$69.97 million (31 December 2007)
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$162.8 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 157
$168.7 million (31 December 2007)
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$208.5 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 159
$215.1 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA
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coconuts, bananas, taro, yams, coffee, cocoa
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food processing, building materials, auto parts
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2.8% (2000)
country comparison to the world: 90
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109 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
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101.4 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
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1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
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1,105 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 87
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
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$-24 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
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$131 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 187
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fish, coconut oil and cream, copra, taro, automotive parts, garments, beer
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Australia 36.9%, American Samoa 35.3%, US 2.9% (2008)
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$324 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 191
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machinery and equipment, industrial supplies, foodstuffs
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NZ 20.8%, Fiji 18.9%, Singapore 18.8%, Australia 6.6%, China 4.4%, US 4% (2008)
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$70.15 million (FY03/04)
country comparison to the world: 151
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$177 million (2004)
country comparison to the world: 182
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tala (SAT) per US dollar - NA (2007), 2.7594 (2006), 2.7103 (2005), 2.7807 (2004), 2.9732 (2003)
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Communications ::Samoa
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28,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 179
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124,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 180
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general assessment: adequate
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 70 telephones per 100 persons; coverage extended to roughly 95 percent of the country
international: country code - 685; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
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AM 2, FM 5, shortwave 0 (2004)
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2 (2002)
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.ws
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13,985 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 112
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9,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 200
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Transportation ::Samoa
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4 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 186
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total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
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total: 2,337 km
country comparison to the world: 170
paved: 332 km
unpaved: 2,005 km (2001)
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total: 1
country comparison to the world: 154
by type: cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Cyprus 1) (2008)
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Apia
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Military ::Samoa
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no regular military forces; Samoa Police Force (2008)
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males age 16-49: 53,417 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 43,169
females age 16-49: 40,957 (2009 est.)
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male: 2,597
female: 2,477 (2009 est.)
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NA
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Samoa has no formal defense structure or regular armed forces; informal defense ties exist with NZ, which is required to consider any Samoan request for assistance under the 1962 Treaty of Friendship
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Transnational Issues ::Samoa
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none
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