Samoa Country Report
The Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) has held power almost continuously for over three decades, consolidating its position in the March 2016 general election. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has been in office since 1998. There is a moderate risk of social unrest because of future investment projects that threaten customary land rights; however, protests and industrial unrest are unlikely to turn violent. Softer outlooks for tourism and agricultural production will weigh on Samoa's recovery after a series of natural disasters. Cyclone Amos caused extensive damage to Samoa in April 2016 and was the largest cyclone to affect the country since 2012.
Samoa actively encourages foreign investment, particularly from China. Multiple laws have been passed, including legalising casino gambling, to attract tourism and moving Samoa across the International Date Line to facilitate trade with Asia. Samoa's relatively underdeveloped economy means that business infrastructure is lacking; however, communications infrastructure has improved in recent years. In March 2017, it was announced that the Honatua cable would be extended to Samoa by the end of the year.
There is no known militant opposition to the government or connections to any transnational terrorist networks.
There is negligible risk of interstate conflict involving Samoa, although investment ties with China have raised some national security concerns. Samoa has no standing military forces, and security is administered internally by the Samoa Police Service. Samoa has signed a Treaty of Friendship with New Zealand, allowing Apia to request military assistance from New Zealand if required.
The risk of communal violence or unrest in Samoa is negligible. Very rare labour protests in the capital Apia are usually peaceful. The most likely cause of social unrest is investment projects that threaten customary land rights. In the three-year outlook, there is a possible risk of traditional landowners coming into conflict with the government on this issue.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Visitors should also be aware that Samoa is located in an active seismic zone (a magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck the island nation on July 25, 2010) and that during spring months (October to December) cyclones regularly hit the islands (e.g. in mid-December 2012). Beach-goers in particular should note that strong currents in coastal lagoons are responsible for a number of deadly accidents every year.
The quality of medical infrastructure present in the country is below Western European standards. Major roads on the two main islands (Upolu and Savai’i) are paved and taxis and minibuses are available. Finally, the large number of stray dogs present in the country should be noted; they may bother some visitors.
Samoa has a tropical climate and enjoys sunny skies all year long. The rainy season lasts from December to April during which time temperatures are higher than during the rest of the year (31°C). Tropical storms and cyclones sometimes strike the archipelago at this time. The dry season lasts from May until September with temperatures moderated by trade winds (24°C).
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