Back

Country Reports

Samoa Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) has held power almost continuously for over three decades, and in the March 2016 general election increased its number of seats from 29 to 35 out of 49. The HRPP's longevity of office and dominant position mean that debate in the Legislative Assembly of Samoa (Samoan Fono) is increasingly muted, and policy-making is centred around long-serving prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Tuilaepa has held office since 1998.Samoa encourages foreign investment, particularly from China. Multiple laws have been passed in Tuilaepa's tenure, including measures legalising casino gambling, seeking to attract tourism, and moving Samoa across the International Date Line to facilitate trade with Asia. Tuilaepa consistently has defended increasing Chinese aid to the Pacific and has encouraged Chinese private investment. Samoa's real GDP growth will continue to grow in 2019. Recovery in agricultural production is likely to support export growth. The economic effect of the closure of auto parts manufacturer Yazaki Samoa, the country's largest employer, has been mitigated by tourism and other commercial activities. New firms have taken over the firm's facilities, with economic activity also supported by an uptrend in tourism, and refurbishment works ahead of hosting the Pacific Games in July 2019. Overall, this combination is expected to generate an improvement in Samoa's real GDP growth from estimated 3.0% in 2018 to 2.6% in 2019, before slowing down to 1.9% in 2020. The inflation outlook is likely to remain moderate given softer import prices over the near term. Samoa's ethnic homogeneity underpins the low risk of civil unrest and communal violence. Natural disasters pose the greatest risk to property. Damage mainly occurs to agricultural land, plantations, and trees. More positively for businesses in the country, in February 2018, a subsea cable was officially opened, connecting Samoa to high-speed internet.
Last update: June 4, 2019

Operational Outlook

Samoa 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 February 2018, the Honotua subsea cable was official opened, connecting Samoa to high-speed internet.

Last update: January 25, 2019

Terrorism

Low

There is no known terrorist threat in Samoa.

Last update: December 8, 2018

War Risks

There is negligible risk of interstate conflict. 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.

Last update: December 8, 2018

Social Stability

Moderate

The risk of communal violence 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.

Last update: December 8, 2018

Health Risk

Very high

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.

Routine Vaccinations

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).

Other Vaccinations

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Low

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

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).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +685
Police: 995
Fire Dept.: 994
Ambulance: 996

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019