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Date: 2015-8-7 15:51:43

Brief Introduction to Samoa

History of Samoa

Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa, is an Oceanian country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.


Its European history began with its discovery by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggereen in 1722 with accelerated involvement of European missionaries and traders in the mid 19th century. Samoa became a German colony following the Treaty of Berlin in 1899 when the United States of America took control of Eastern Samoa (now know as American Samoa) while Western Samoa was adopted to separate the Islands.


Under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, Samoa was awarded to New Zealand as a League of Nations mandate. After World War II. Samoa became a United Nations Trust Territory under New Zealand administration.


Samoa with a current population of about 180.000 became the 1st island in the South Pacific to gain independence in 1962. The Independent State of Samoa celebrates Independence on 1st June every year.


Government & Administration

Samoa has a Westminster styled Parliamentary democracy to accommodate local custom and Christian principles. Its written constitution provides for a Head of State, a Prime Minister and a Cabinet of Ministers, and a Legislative Assembly.


There are 41 constituencies and 47 members of parliament, a Prime Minister, a speaker and two seats to represent independent voters. Parliamentary elections are held every five (5) years. And the main political party is the Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP).


Samoa is a member of the British Commonwealth, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and an associate member of the EEC.


Economy & Monetary System:

The Samoan economy is traditionally based on agriculture with a high dependence on external personal remittances and external development aid.


Samoa's main resources are land and labour. It has no minerals. Following independence, Samoa concentrated on developing a modern economy based on traditional village agriculture and the primary products of cocoa, copra, taro and banana.


With modernization, Samoa has diversified its economic base with the manufacturing and service sectors now becoming significant contributors to GDP, driven mainly by the leading industries “Commerce”, “Transport and Communication”, “Construction” and “Business and Finance Services” sectors. The expanding tourism sector and diversification of exports have improved the balance of payments outlook significantly.


There is general optimism and relatively high confidence about Samoa’s economic prospects buttressed by positive assessments conducted by international organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding Samoa’s policy planning and management capabilities and the medium term economic prospects for the economy.


Legal System& Judiciary:

Samoa has a Westminster legal system based on the English legal system as adopted by many of the Commonwealth countries. It is also a Parliamentary democracy where its Parliament is elected through universal suffrage every five years and a Prime Minister and Cabinet manage the day to day affairs of the country.


Samoa’s court system consists of two District Courts and a Supreme Court manned by six local judges, and an Appeal Court that sits once or twice a year and is overseen by overseas judges. There is a separate Land and Titles Court that deals with matters relating to customary land ownership and ‘matai’ (chief) titles.


The Supreme Court of Samoa is the court of highest jurisdiction. Its chief justice is appointed by the head of state upon the recommendation of the prime minister.