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Wallis and Futuna

The Territory of Wallis and Futuna (Territoire des Iles Wallis et Futuna) are volcanic tropical islands with fringing reefs located in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand, at 13°18'S, 176°12'W. It is a French overseas territory (French: territoires d'outre-mer, or TOM). Population: 15,283 (2000 census).

Table of contents

History

Although they were discovered by the Dutch and the British in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the French who declared a protectorate over the islands in 1842. In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory, and so defense is the responsibility of France.

Geography

The territory includes Ile Uvea (Wallis Island[?]), Ile Futuna (Futuna Island[?]), Ile Alofi, and 20 islets, totalling 274 square kilometers with 129 kilometers of coastline. The highest point in the territory is Mont Singavi at 765 meters.

The islands have a hot, rainy season from November to April and a cool, dry season from May to October. The rains accumulate 2500 to 3000 millimeters each year. The average humidity is 80% and the temperature 26.6C.

Only five percent of the islands' land area is arable land; permanent crops cover another 20%. Deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain), largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source, is a serious problem; as a consequence of cutting down the forests, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly prone to erosion. There are no permanent settlements on Alofi because of the lack of natural fresh water resources.

Demographics

The total population of the territory in July 2000 was 15,283, all of Polynesian ethnicity, all Roman Catholic. They speak both the French language and Wallisian[?], an indigenous Polynesian language[?]. Half the total population (both men and women) age 15 and over can read and write.

Administration

The territory includes three kingdoms named Wallis, Sigave, and Alo. The capital of the territory is Mata-Utu[?] on Ile Uvea. As a territory of France, it is governed under the French consititution of September 28, 1958, uses the French legal system, and suffrage is universal for thoses over 18 years of age. The French president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; the high administrator is appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the Territorial Government and the Territorial Assembly are elected by the members of the assembly.

The head of state is President Jacques Chirac of France as represented by High Administrator Christian Dors. The head of government is President of the Territorial Assembly Soane Uhila. The Council of the Territory consists of three kings and three members appointed by the high administrator on the advice of the Territorial Assembly.

The legislative branch consists of the unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale of 20 seats; the members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. Wallis and Futuna elects one senator to the French Senate and one deputy to the French National Assembly.

The territory does not have local judicial branch; justice is generally administered under French law by the high administrator, but the three traditional kings administer customary law and there is a magistrate in Mata-Utu.

The territory participates in the FZ, and SPC.

Economy

The territory's economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of the labor force earning its livelihood from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. About 4% of the population is employed in government. Revenues come from French Government subsidies, licensing of fishing rights to Japan and South Korea, import taxes, and remittances from expatriate workers in New Caledonia. The gross domestic product had in 1995 a purchasing power parity of about $28.7 million total, about $2000 per capita. The territory takes in about $20 million per year in revenues against about $17 million in expenditures. Industries include copra, handicrafts, fishing, and lumber. Agricultural products include breadfruit, yams[?], taro, bananas, pigs, and goats. IN 1995, about $370,000 worth of commodities (copra, breadfruit, yams, taro roots, handicrafts) were exported, and about $13.5 million worth of commodities (foodstuffs, manufactured goods, transportation equipment, fuel, clothing) were imported, primarily from France, Australia, and New Zealand.

The territory has its own currency; 1 Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (CFPF) is linked at the rate of 18.18 to the French franc.

Transportation & Communications

In 1994, the territory had 1,125 telephones in use, had one AM radio station, and two television broadcast stations. Ile Uvea has about 100 kilometers of highway, 16 paved, while Ile Futuna has only 20 kilometers, none of it paved. The territory has two main ports and harbors, Leava, and Mata-Utu, that support its merchant marine[?] fleet consisting of three ships totaling 92,060 GRT or 45,881 DWT: two passenger ships and a petroleum tanker. There are two airports, one with a paved runway about 2000 meters long, one with a 1000-meter unpaved strip.

The territory's data code and country code (top level Internet domain) is WF.



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