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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.


Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Natural Resources

manganese, hardwood forests, fish

Population - distribution

local languages (more than 100) 63.2%, Bislama (official; creole) 33.7%, English (official) 2%, French (official) 0.6%, other 0.5% (2009 est.)
PORT-VILA (capital) 53,000 (2014)
Conventional long form
Republic of Vanuatu
Conventional short form
Local long form
Ripablik blong Vanuatu
Local short form
parliamentary republic
Port Vila
Geographic coordinates
17 44 S, 168 19 E
Time difference
UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
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 350,000 visitors in 2016, are other mainstays of the economy. Tourism has struggled after Efate, the most populous and popular island for tourists, was damaged by Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015. Ongoing infrastructure difficulties at Port Vila’s Bauerfield Airport have caused air travel disruptions, further hampering tourism numbers. Australia and New Zealand are the main source of tourists and foreign aid. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits.
External debt stocks
US$ 170,276,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -82,051,487
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 402,516,902
Exports of goods and services
US$ 395,707,503
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 31,021,246
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 277,492,850
copra, coconuts, cocoa, coffee, taro, yams, fruits, vegetables; beef; fish
food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning
copra, beef, cocoa, timber, kava, coffee
Japan 35.1%, Turkey 10.5%, Thailand 8.7%, China 8.2%, Venezuela 5.9%, UK 5.6% (2015)
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, fuels
China 16.7%, Australia 14.6%, Japan 13.9%, Singapore 10%, Fiji 9.2%, NZ 8.4%, New Caledonia 5.2% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
Business Climate Rating

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