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New Caledonia[Country flag of New Caledonia]
[Country map of New Caledonia]

Introduction New Caledonia
Background:
Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s has dissipated.
Geography New Caledonia
Location:
Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
Geographic coordinates:
21 30 S, 165 30 E
Map references:
Oceania
Area:
total: 19,060 sq km
land: 18,575 sq km
water: 485 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
2,254 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
Terrain:
coastal plains with interior mountains
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m
Natural resources:
nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
Land use:
arable land: 0.38%
permanent crops: 0.33%
other: 99.29% (2001)
Irrigated land:
160 sq km (1991)
Natural hazards:
cyclones, most frequent from November to March
Environment - current issues:
erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires
Geography - note:
consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls
People New Caledonia
Population:
216,494 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29% (male 32,030/female 30,714)
15-64 years: 64.6% (male 70,294/female 69,506)
65 years and over: 6.4% (male 6,513/female 7,437) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 27.5 years
male: 27.16 years
female: 27.84 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.28% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
18.49 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
5.65 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.72 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.04 years
male: 71.07 years
female: 77.16 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.31 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: New Caledonian(s)
adjective: New Caledonian
Ethnic groups:
Melanesian 42.5%, European 37.1%, Wallisian 8.4%, Polynesian 3.8%, Indonesian 3.6%, Vietnamese 1.6%, other 3%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
Languages:
French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92%
female: 90% (1976 est.)
Government New Caledonia
Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
conventional short form: New Caledonia
local long form: Territoire des Nouvelle-Caledonie et Dependances
local short form: Nouvelle-Caledonie
Dependency status:
overseas territory of France since 1956
Government type:
NA
Capital:
Noumea
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas territory of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 3 provinces named Iles Loyaute, Nord, and Sud
Independence:
none (overseas territory of France); note - a referendum on independence was held in 1998 but did not pass; a new referendum is scheduled for 2014
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Constitution:
4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
the 1988 Matignon Accords grant substantial autonomy to the islands; formerly under French law
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of France Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995), represented by High Commissioner Michel MATHIEU (since 15 July 2005)
head of government: President of the Government Marie-Noelle THEMEREAU (since 10 June 2004)
cabinet: Consultative Committee
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the government elected by the members of the Territorial Congress; note - last election held 29 June 2004 when Marie-Noelle THEMEREAU was elected on the third vote with 8 votes for and 3 abstentions
Legislative branch:
unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres Territorial (54 seats; members belong to the three Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 9 May 2004 (next to be held NA 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RPCR-UMP 16, AE 16, UNI-FLNKS 8, UC 7, FN 4, others 3
note: New Caledonia currently holds 1 seat in the French Senate; elections last held 24 September 2001 (next to be held not later than September 2007; between now and 2010 New Caledonia will gain a second seat in the French Senate); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; New Caledonia also elects 2 seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held 9 and 16 June 2002 (next to be held by June 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - UMP 2
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Children's Court
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance pour la Caledonie or APLC [Didier LE ROUX]; Caleonian Union or UC [leader NA]; Federation des Comites de Coordination des Independantistes or FCCI [Francois BURCK]; Front National or FN [Guy GEORGE]; Front Uni de Liberation Kanak or FULK [Ernest UNE]; Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS [leader NA] (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM); Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE and Elie POIGOUNE]; Rally for Caledonia in the Republic (anti independent) or RPCR-UMP [Jacques LAFLEUR]; The Future Together or AE [Harold MARTIN]; Union Nationale pour l'Independance or UNI [Paul NEAOUTYINE]; note - may no longer exist, but Paul NEAOUTYINE has since become a president of Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA; Union Progressiste Melanesienne or UPM [Victor TUTUGORO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
FZ, ICFTU, PIF (observer), UPU, WFTU, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of France)
Flag description:
the flag of France is used
Economy New Caledonia
Economy - overview:
New Caledonia has about 25% of the world's known nickel resources. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, substantial financial support from France - equal to more than one-fourth of GDP - and tourism are keys to the health of the economy. Substantial new investment in the nickel industry, combined with the recovery of global nickel prices, brightens the economic outlook for the next several years.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.158 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
NA%
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $15,000 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 30%
services: 65% (1997 est.)
Labor force:
79,400 (including 15,018 unemployed) (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 7%, industry 23%, services 70% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
19% (1996)
Population below poverty line:
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-0.6% (2000 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $861.3 million
expenditures: $735.3 million, including capital expenditures of $52 million (1996 est.)
Agriculture - products:
vegetables; beef, deer, other livestock products
Industries:
nickel mining and smelting
Industrial production growth rate:
-0.6% (1996)
Electricity - production:
1.581 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 76.3%
hydro: 23.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
1.471 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
8,750 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA
Oil - imports:
NA
Exports:
$448 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
ferronickels, nickel ore, fish
Exports - partners:
Japan 22%, France 16.5%, Taiwan 12.3%, South Korea 12%, Spain 6.3%, Australia 6.1%, China 4.8%, South Africa 4.5% (2004)
Imports:
$1.007 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
France 40.3%, Singapore 10.9%, Australia 9.1%, New Zealand 4.9% (2004)
Debt - external:
$79 million (1998 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$880 million annual subsidy from France (1998)
Currency (code):
Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (XPF)
Currency code:
XPF
Exchange rates:
Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar - 96.04 (2004), 105.66 (2003), 126.71 (2002), 133.26 (2001), 129.43 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications New Caledonia
Telephones - main lines in use:
52,000 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
80,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios:
107,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
6 (plus 25 low-power repeaters) (1997)
Televisions:
52,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.nc
Internet hosts:
4,449 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
60,000 (2003)
Transportation New Caledonia
Highways:
total: 5,432 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Noumea
Merchant marine:
total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,261 GRT/1,600 DWT
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 1 (2005)
Airports:
25 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 6 (2004 est.)
Heliports:
6 (2004 est.)
Military New Caledonia
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; French Armed Forces (includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie); Police Force
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of France
Transnational Issues New Caledonia
Disputes - international:
Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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