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New Caledonia

(overseas territory of France)


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Introduction

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 seems to have dissipated.

Geography

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
  exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 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%
  permanent crops: 0%
  permanent pastures: 12%
  forests and woodland: 39%
  other: 49% (1993 est.)

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

People

Population: 201,816 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 31% (male 31,396; female 30,160)
  15-64 years: 64% (male 65,042; female 63,961)
  65 years and over: 5% (male 5,324; female 5,933) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.52% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 20.84 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 5.62 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
  total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 8.57 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 72.77 years
  male: 69.84 years
  female: 75.85 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.52 children born/woman (2000 est.)

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

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

Data code: NC

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

National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

Constitution: 28 September 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 Thierry LATASTE (since 19 July 1999)
  head of government: President of the Government Jean LEQUES (since 28 May 1999)
  cabinet: Consultative Committee
  elections: French president elected by popular vote for a seven-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

Legislative branch: unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres Territorial (54 seats; members are members of the three Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
  elections: last held 9 May 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
  election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPCR 24, FLNKS 12, UNI 6, FCCI 4, FN 4, Alliance pour la Caledonie 3, LKS 1 (Note: New Caledonia elects 1 seat to the French Senate; elections last held 27 September 1992 (next to be held NA September 2001); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPR 1; New Caledonia also elects 2 seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held 25 May-1 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPR 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 [Didier LEROUX]; Developper Ensemble pour Construire l'Avenir or DEPCA [Robert FROUIN]; Federation des Comites de Coordination des Independantistes or FCCI [Raphael MAPOU]; Front Uni de Liberation Kanak or FULK [Ernest UNE]; Groupe de l'Alliance Multiraciale or GAM [Dany DALMAYRAE]; Independance et Progres [Alphonse PUJAPUJANE]; Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS [Rock WAMYTAN] (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, UPM); La Caledonie Autrement [Denis MILLIARD]; Loyalty Islands Development Front or FDIL [Cono HAMU]; National Front or FN [Guy GEORGE]; Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Charles WASHETINE]; Rally for Caledonia in the Republic or RPCR [Jacques LAFLEUR]; Renouveau [Thierry VALET]; Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE]; Union Caledonienne or UC [Bernard LEPEU]; Union Nationale pour l'Independance or UNI [Paul NEAOUTYINE]; Union Progressiste Melanesienne or UPM [Andre GOPEA]

International organization participation: ESCAP (associate), FZ, ICFTU, SPC, 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

Economy - overview: New Caledonia has more than 20% of the world's known nickel resources. In recent years, the economy has suffered because of depressed international demand for nickel, the principal source of export earnings. Only a negligible amount of the land is suitable for cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, the substantial financial support from France and tourism are keys to the health of the economy. The situation in 1998 was clouded by the spillover of financial problems in East Asia and by lower prices for nickel. Nickel prices jumped in 1999, and large additions were made to capacity.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $3 billion (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (1998 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $15,000 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 4%
  industry: 30%
  services: 66% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (1998 est.)

Labor force: 79,395 (including 15, 018 unemployed, 1996)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 7%, industry 23%, services 70% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 15% (1994)

Budget
  revenues: $861.3 million
  expenditures: $735.3 million, including capital expenditures of $52 million (1996 est.)

Industries: nickel mining and smelting

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 1.52 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 65.79%
  hydro: 34.21%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 1.414 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: vegetables; beef, deer, other livestock products

Exports: $381 million (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports - commodities: ferronickels, nickel ore, fish

Exports - partners: Japan 36%, France 30%, US 14%, Taiwan 9%, Australia 7% (1997)

Imports: $922 million (c.i.f., 1998)

Imports - commodities: foods, machinery and equipment, fuels, minerals

Imports - partners: France 41%, Australia 13%, New Zealand 7%, Japan 5% (1998)

Debt - external: $79 million (1998 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $770 million from France (1998)

Currency: 1 Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique franc (CFPF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (CFPF) per US$1 - 117.67 (January 2000), 111.93 (1999), 107.25 (1998), 106.11 (1997), 93.00 (1996), 90.75 (1995); note - linked at the rate of 18.18 to the French franc

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 44,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 825 (1995)

Telephone system
  domestic: NA
  international: 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 Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (1999)

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 5,562 km
  paved: 975 km
  unpaved: 4,587 km (1993)

Ports and harbors: Mueo, Noumea, Thio

Merchant marine
  total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,261 GRT/1,600 DWT
  ships by type: cargo 1 (1999 est.)

Airports: 28 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 5
  over 3,047 m: 1
  914 to 1,523 m: 3
  under 914 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 23
  914 to 1,523 m: 12
  under 914 m: 11 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 6 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: French Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Gendarmerie); Police Force

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $192.3 million (1996)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 5.3% (1996)

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: Matthew and Hunter Islands claimed by France and Vanuatu

 

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Site Version 1.75 - Last updated Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 9:44AM PST on host Saturn

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