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Ripablik Blong Vanuatu (Bislama)
Republic of Vanuatu (English)
République de Vanuatu (French)
Republic of Vanuatu
Vanuatu flag
Vanuatu Coat of Arms
flag coat of arms
Official language Bislama , English and French
Capital Port Vila
Form of government parliamentary republic
Government system parliamentary democracy
Head of state President
Tallis Obed Moses
Head of government Prime Minister
Bob Loughman Weibur
surface 12,190 km²
population 258,000
Population density 21.9 inhabitants per km²
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 837 million ( 181. )
  • $ 772 million ( 184. )
  • 3,094 USD ( 128. )
  • 2,739 USD ( 160. )
Human Development Index 0.597 (134.)
currency Vatu (VUV)
independence July 30, 1980 by France and the United Kingdom
National anthem Yumi, Yumi, Yumi
National holiday 30th July
Time zone UTC + 11
License Plate VU
ISO 3166 VU , VUT, 548
Internet TLD .vu
Telephone code +678
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About this picture

Detailed map of Vanuatus
Vanuatu Parliament
At Mount Yasur on Tanna

Vanuatu ([ vɑːnʊˈɑːtuː ], in Bislama : Ripablik Blong Vanuatu ) is a sovereign island nation in the South Pacific .

The island state consisting of 83 islands - or archipelagos - emerged in 1980 from the British - French condominium New Hebrides , which had been in existence since 1906 and today has around 267,000 inhabitants.


The island area of ​​Vanuatu extends over 1,300 km of the South Pacific and is part of Melanesia . The state includes 83 islands (67 of them inhabited islands), mostly of volcanic origin, which mostly belong to the New Hebrides archipelago . The Bank and Torres Islands also belong to Vanuatu.

Few of these Vanuatu islands are of a size that makes them significant. The largest islands are Espiritu Santo (3955.5 km²) and Malakula (2041.3 km²). The highest point on Vanuatu is the Tabwemasana (Tabwémasana) with 1879 m on the island Espíritu Santo.

Noteworthy is the active volcano Mount Yasur on the island of Tanna and the Lombenben on the island of Ambae , which was active in November 2005. Earthquakes repeatedly shake the islands, including in 1999 and 2002. The latter caused considerable damage in the capital Port Vila . Both earthquakes each resulted in a tsunami .


Many of Vanuatu's islands have been populated for thousands of years. The oldest finds are dated to the year 2000 BC. Dated. The Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernández de Quirós reached Espíritu Santo on May 3, 1606. Believing to have found the "lost" southern continent, he named the island after the Holy Spirit Terra Australis del Espiritu Santo and conquered it (and everything up to the South Pole) in the name of the Spanish king and the Catholic Church.

In 1768 Louis Antoine de Bougainville sailed on the frigate La Boudeuse between Espíritu Santo and Malakula , refuting Quiró's theory that it was part of a southern continent.

After the second voyage of the British explorer James Cook , European settlers settled on the islands from 1839 onwards. From 1887 the islands were officially under British-French rule.

The French and British agreed in 1906 to establish the New Hebrides condominium in the New Hebrides.

Due to various infectious diseases that were brought into the country mainly by the European settlers, the population fell to 45,000 by 1935.

During the Second World War , the islands of Éfaté and Espíritu Santo were used by the Allies as military bases . In the 1960s the population pushed for more self-determination and later for independence. Before independence, active and passive women's suffrage was guaranteed in November 1975.

The island state achieved full sovereignty on July 30, 1980 with the approval of the two European protecting powers. The right to vote for women was confirmed when independence was achieved .

Vanuatu joined the United Nations in 1981 and joined the Non-Aligned Movement two years later .

The 1990s were marked by political instability, which led to greater decentralization in the island nation's political system.

Cyclone Pam

Between March 14 and 15, 2015, Cyclone Pam raged in Vanuatu , destroying large parts of the island state, which is why the island state declared a national emergency on March 15, 2015 . With wind speeds of more than 300 km / h, the cyclone was one of the strongest cyclones ever measured.
In the capital Port Vila, 90% of all buildings were destroyed or badly damaged.

The cyclone is said to be the worst disaster in Vanuatu's history. According to the United Nations, at least 24 people were killed in the cyclone and 3,300 people were left homeless. President Baldwin Lonsdale gave the climate change partly to blame on the extent of the destruction.


Political system

Vanuatu is a parliamentary republic with a president as head of state. The President, who has mainly representative functions, is elected every five years by a joint body made up of Members of Parliament and the Presidents of the Regional Parliaments. Baldwin Lonsdale of Torba Province was President of the country from September 22, 2014 until his death . His election required eight ballots until he achieved the necessary two-thirds majority with 46 of 58 votes. He replaced Iolu Abil , who was in office from September 2, 2009 to September 2, 2014, and his then acting interim president, Philip Boedoro . He was succeeded by Baldwin Lonsdale, who is respected in the region, in July 2017 by Tallis Obed Moses .

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu is the Prime Minister, who is elected by Parliament by a three-quarters majority. The Prime Minister himself chooses the members of his cabinet .

Prime Minister since April 20, 2020 is Bob Loughman . He replaced Charlot Salwai , who had been in office since 2016.

Vanuatu has a unicameral system . The parliament has 52 members who are directly elected every four years in multi-member constituencies. The Prime Minister can have the President dissolve Parliament early.

Distribution of seats in the Vanuatu Parliament after the January 22nd elections
Political party Seats
Independent 8th
Vanua'aku Pati (VP) (Our Land Party) 6th
Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) 6th
Land and Justice Party (GJP) 6th
National United Party (NUP) 4th
Iauko Group 4th
Nagriamel 3
Reunification of Movements for Change (RMC) 3
Vanuatu National Development Party (VNDP) 2
Vanuatu Green Confederation (GC) 2
Peoples Progressive Party 1
Natatok Indigenous People's Democratic Party (NIPDP) 1
Leaders Party of Vanuatu (LPV) 1
Vanuatu Labor Party 1
Fren Melanesian Party (FMP) 1
People's Services Party (PSP) 1
Melanesian Progressive Party (MPP) 1
Vanuatu Presidential Party (VPP) 1
total 52
Source: IFES

In addition to the parliament, there is the Malvatu Mauri , also known as the National Council of Chiefs . This chief council only has an advisory function.

Vanuatu's supreme judicial body is the Supreme Court, which consists of a chief judge and up to three other judges. The legal system is based on UK law.

Foreign policy

The small Matthew and Hunter Islands , which are about 250 km southeast of Anatom ( Tafea Province ), the southernmost main island of Vanuatu, are claimed by both New Caledonia ( France ) and Vanuatu.

Vanuatu diplomatically supported East Timor in its endeavors for independence from Indonesia . Therefore, East Timor's President Francisco Guterres awarded the Vanuatu government the Ordem de Timor-Leste on August 31, 2019 .

Vanuatu has been a member of the WTO since October 26, 2011 .


Vanuatu has no regular armed forces . In addition to the police ( Vanuatu Police Force ), the paramilitary Vanuatu Mobile Force , which also has a maritime arm, the Police Maritime Wing, is responsible for security . Vanuatu security forces have already participated in United Nations operations .


Vanuatu consists of the six provinces Malampa , Penama , Sanma , Shefa , Tafea and Torba , whose names are composed of the names of the individual islands.


Young local

Vanuatu has about 267,000 inhabitants (2014), about 98.5% of the population are Melanesians .

32.6% of the population are up to 14 years old, from 15 to 64 years it is 63.7%, over 64 years only 3.7% of the population. Vanuatu has an annual population growth of around 1.5%, with the birth rate per 1000 people at 22.72 and the death rate at 7.82 per 1000 people. Infant mortality is 5.4%. The life expectancy of the population in the period from 2010 to 2015 was 71.4 years (men: 69.4 years, women: 73.6 years). 26% of those over 15 are illiterate .

Population development

year population
1950 047,697
1960 063,699
1970 085,389
1980 115,632
1990 146,634
2000 185.063
2010 236.295
2017 276.244

Source: UN


72.6% of the population state that their mother tongue is one of the 110 languages ​​of Vanuatu. With this amount of languages, Vanuatu has the highest language density (languages ​​per inhabitant) in the world. All of these languages ​​belong to the Melanesian branch of the Oceanic language group . Bislama , a Creole language that emerged during the British-French colonial era , is given as the first mother tongue by almost 23.1%; In fact, it is the daily language of the island nation's inhabitants. In addition to Bislama, English and French are also official languages, but are rarely spoken actively: English is spoken by 1.9% of the population and French by 1.4%. Other languages ​​are spoken by 0.3% of the total population.

Sand drawing from Vanuatu (2007)

In the past, residents without a common language communicated through drawings drawn in the sand. Ritual sand drawings , which consist of a continuous line, were recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity in 2003.


31.4% of the population belong to the Presbyterian Church and 13.4% to the Anglican Church . 13.1% of the population are Roman Catholic , 10.8% are Seventh-day Adventists and 13.8% belong to another Christian denomination. There are also a number of indigenous faiths, to which only 5.6% of the total population profess. The most important are cargo cults like the John Frum Movement and the Prince Philip Movement . (All demographic information is current from 2006.)


The economy of Vanuatu consists mostly of agriculture, tourism and fishing . Fishing plays an important role in supplying the population. This is one of the reasons why Vanuatu is a member of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization ( SPRFMO ), an international, intergovernmental organization of 15 members that aims to monitor and manage fish stocks in the South Pacific.

The members are:

AustraliaAustralia Australia ChileChile Chile China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China
Cook IslandsCook Islands Cook Islands CubaCuba Cuba EcuadorEcuador Ecuador
European UnionEuropean Union European Union FaroeseFaroe Islands Faroe Islands Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea
New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand PeruPeru Peru RussiaRussia Russia
TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan United StatesUnited States United States VanuatuVanuatu Vanuatu

The main crops include coconut palms, peanuts, bananas and corn, which are mainly grown for domestic needs. In 2010, coconut palms (2010 yield: 170,000 t), 2,428 hectares of peanuts (2011 yield: 2,616 t), 1,455 hectares of bananas (2010: 10,735 t, 2017: 16,547 t) and 1,402 hectares of maize (2010 yield: 783 t) cultivated. In 2017, 26 tons of coffee were harvested.

Cattle and pigs are kept on some farms, which in 2010 produced 2,500 tons of beef and 3,417 tons of pork. Occasionally, coffee (2011: 25 ha), cocoa (2011: 500 ha) and spices (2011 on seven hectares with a yield of 95 t) are grown. Despite an expanding service sector , the economy is still strongly characterized by agriculture and is therefore susceptible to natural disasters and weather fluctuations. There are no significant natural resources.

About 65% of the population make their living from the primary sector . Various economic reforms such as the introduction of a VAT of 12.5% ​​succeeded in strengthening the service sector so that tourism could expand further. In 2011 there were approx. 94,000 visitors. 125,000 day visitors reached the islands on cruise ships.

Vanuatu is also becoming increasingly important as an offshore financial center . Vanuatu has no income taxes, corporation taxes, or capital gains taxes. The state budget is financed by import taxes, VAT (12.5%) and various fees.

It is primarily agricultural products that are exported, the quantities of which can fluctuate greatly from year to year. In 2010, agricultural goods worth US $ 24 million were exported; however, food worth US $ 56.3 million had to be imported. In the years before that, the value of food imports (2009: 53.1 million US $) always exceeded the value of food exports (2009: 28.1 million US $) by a considerable amount. Vanuatu exports a. a. Beef (2010: 352 t after 904 t in the previous year), copra (2010: 5,693 t after 15,107 t in the previous year and 3,205 t in 2008), cocoa (2010: 1,978 t after 1,480 t in the previous year) and small amounts of coffee (2010: 1 t after 4 t in the previous year) and bananas.

On January 28, 2016, the EU Commission presented a package of measures to combat tax evasion , including Vanuatu on the black list of tax havens .

The main trading partners are New Caledonia , Australia and New Zealand .

With the Citizenship Tourism Investment Program (CTIP) Vanuatu tries to attract people to invest in the country. In 2020, more than 650 people took the opportunity to acquire citizenship of Vanuatu at approved agencies for 130,000 USD (around 110,000 euros) each by mid-August , 32% more than in the whole of 2019. Each 80,000 USD is paid directly as a fee the state and the agencies pay taxes on their revenues. Despite the slump in tourism in the wake of the corona pandemic and the destruction caused by Cyclone Harold, the state achieved a surplus of 3.8 billion Vatu (28.4 million euros) in the first half of 2020. The green passport with the Vanuatu coat of arms and the state motto is also popular because it allows holders to enter more than 100 countries without a visa, including those of the European Union, Great Britain, Russia and Hong Kong. Few of the "buyers" of citizenship actually settle in or invest in the country as a result.

Four Chinese people who were searched for by Interpol were revoked their citizenship in 2020, they were arrested, isolated and extradited to China. They should at Plus tokens have been involved, a fraudulent pyramid scheme with crypto currencies .

They were arrested in Vanuatu along with two others whose naturalization procedures were pending, detained for a week without any contact with the outside world and extradited to China, the Guardian reported. They are said to have been involved in the "PlusToken" operation, a fraudulent pyramid scheme with cryptocurrencies.


Circulation coins from Vanuatu

The currency on Vanuatu is the Vatu (VUV). On 29 Mar 2020 the exchange rate was 1  EUR = 137.56 VUV, corresponding to 100 VUV = 0.72696 EUR.


The operators of the Sharman Networks Kazaa network have settled there in order to avoid proceedings in the Netherlands and to benefit from tax advantages. Also WinMX , a peer-to-peer software and the OnlineTVRecorder changed their location there.

State budget

The state budget in 2005 comprised expenditures of the equivalent of 72.2 million US dollars , which was offset by income of the equivalent of 78.7 million US dollars. This results in a budget surplus of 1.8% of GDP .

The national debt in 2008 was $ 106 million, or 18.5% of GDP.

In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:


The almost 1,000 kilometers long Vanuatu transport network consists of 75% unpaved roads and paths. There is no general speed limit on the streets of Vanuatu. A total of 31 airfields are available on Vanuatu to cover medium and long-haul routes, three of which have asphalt runways . One of the main airports is Bauerfield Airport . The national airline is Air Vanuatu . The merchant navy has around 50 ships, none of which has a domestic owner. Larger ports are located in Forari , Port Vila and Espiritu Santo .


Wooden slit drums from Vanuatu (from the Bernice P. Bishop Museum )
Relief by Aloi Pilioko at the main post office in Port Vila (right)
Wall paintings opposite the market hall

The Chief Roi Mata's Domain cultural landscape has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008 . The sand drawings , which used to be used for communication between the individual islands and tribes, have also been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

One of the most important contemporary artists of Vanuatu is Aloi Pilioko from the island of Wallis , who u. a. created the colorful relief on the facade of the main post office in Port Vila. Not far from there is an interesting mural on the facade of the administration building opposite the market hall.


A shortwave station that broadcasts a domestic program in English, French and Bislama with 10 kW can occasionally be received in Central Europe if reception conditions are favorable. The transmission frequencies are: 3,945, 5,055 and 7,260 kHz.

The top-level domain of Vanuatu is .vu . Vanuatu earned more than 42 million euros from the sale of the .vu domain.


  • Andreas Holtz: Nation-Building and the question of sovereignty in the South Pacific against the background of the political history of the Republic of Vanuatu. Lit, Münster 2003, ISBN 3-8258-6413-8 .
  • Felix Speiser : Ethnology of Vanuatu. An early twentieth century study. Crawford House, Bathurst NSW 1991, ISBN 1-86333-021-6 (Reprinted 1996; English translation of 1923 original: Ethnographic Materials from the New Hebrides and Banks Islands. Limited preview in Google Book Search).

Web links

Wiktionary: Vanuatu  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Vanuatu  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Vanuatu  - geographical and historical maps

Individual evidence

  1. UN Statistics Division, World Statistics Pocketbook 2015, p. 219. ( Memento from January 1, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  2. [1] of the International Monetary Fund .
  3. Human Development Report Office: Vanuatu - Country Profile: Human Development Indicators , accessed September 26, 2017.
  4. Miloslav Stingl provides information about the peculiarities of a binational airline in the New Hebrides and a tri-national British-French court with a Spanish chairman as well as stamps in a currency that did not exist in the country : Shell money and road cruisers. Leipzig 1975, pp. 84-91.
  5. a b - New Parline: the IPU's Open Data Platform (beta). In: July 30, 1980, accessed October 13, 2018 .
  6. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz, Christof Hartmann (eds.): South East Asia, East Asia and the South Pacific. (= Elections in Asia and the Pacific. A Data Handbook. Volume 2). Oxford University Press, New York 2002, ISBN 0-19-924959-8 , p. 836
  7. ^ Mart Martin: The Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. Westview Press Boulder, Colorado, 2000, p. 414.
  8. Cyclone "Pam": Vanuatu declares a state of emergency. Der Spiegel , accessed March 15, 2015.
  9. ^ Vanuatu Emergency Appeal ( Memento April 3, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) UNICEF New Zealand.
    More than 100,000 homeless in Vanuatu as president makes emotional plea for Cyclone Pam aid The Telegraph , March 16, 2015.
  10. ^ Cyclone Pam: Vanuatu awaits first wave of relief and news from worst-hit islands. In: The Guardian . March 15, 2015.
  11. ^ Cyclone Pam: UN speaks of at least 24 dead in Vanuatu. At: , March 16, 2015, accessed on March 16, 2015.
  12. ^ Vanuatu President calls for unity and peace. Radio New Zealand International, September 23, 2014, accessed October 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Baldwin Lonsdale sworn in as Vanuatu's new president. , Xinhua, September 22, 2014 (English), accessed October 5, 2014.
  14. Tallis Obed Moses: Presbyterian pastor sworn in as Vanuatu's new President. ABC News Australia, July 6, 2017, accessed September 26, 2017.
  15. Election Guide: Republic of Vanuatu
  16. ^ President of East Timor: President of the Republic bestows upon ten individuals and entities the Order of Timor-Leste , September 1, 2019 , accessed on September 3, 2019.
  17. 2009 National Census of Population and Housing: Summary Release. Port Vila 2009 ( Memento of January 9, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) PDF, accessed on October 16, 2011.
  18. ^ A b World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 28, 2017 .
  19. a b CIA World fact Book Vanuatu. Retrieved October 14, 2011 .
  20. ^ South Pacific Regional Management Organization . Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  22. a b
  24. Vanuatu National Statistics Office: Tourism summary ( Memento from January 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on May 12, 2013.
  25. EU wants new black list of tax havens. In: Trend. January 28, 2016, accessed February 20, 2016 .
  26. aloh: Passport sales: Vanuatu's financial miracle weapon, August 21, 2020, accessed August 22, 2020. According to a report in The Guardian .
  27. Computer magazine c't. No. 18/2009, p. 138, last paragraph
  28. a b c The World Factbook
  29. IMF : IMF Executive Board Consultation with Vanuatu
  30. The Fischer World Almanac 2010: Figures Data Facts. Fischer, Frankfurt 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-72910-4 .
  31. Michael Brillat: South Seas. Munich 2011, p. 52.

Coordinates: 17 °  S , 168 °  E