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Country Reports

Tonga Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Akilisi Pōhiva's position as prime minister is precarious due to his strained relationship with the monarchy, and there is a moderate risk that he will be removed in the next 12 months. Despite a transition to a more democratic form of government in 2010, the monarchy and traditional nobility retain considerable influence over the judiciary in Tonga, including the power to appoint certain positions. Some of Tonga's infrastructure is in good condition, including its transportation system. However, most businesses use generators to mitigate an unreliable power supply, and about 20% of the country lacks electricity. Rioting causing property damage remains highly unlikely. Ongoing social grievances against poverty and youth unemployment increase the likelihood of peaceful strikes and protests against the monarchy. Dependence on external assistance is likely to act as a significant constraint on future governments, as Tonga's external relations are dominated by the need to ensure continued financial support from major donors and creditors such as Australia, China, and New Zealand. Although damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita in February 2018 amounted to 30% of Tonga's GDP, spending on recovery activities will likely drive domestic economic activity in the near term. Delayed repayments to Chinese loans will help the Tongan government to contain fiscal shortfalls, but public wage growth and reconstruction is placing increased pressure on the budget.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

The government encourages foreign investment and has gone to great lengths to improve legislation. Some of Tonga's infrastructure is in good condition, including its transportation system. However, most businesses use generators to mitigate an unreliable power supply, and about 20% of the country lacks electricity. Tonga became a prospective member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in June 2017, suggesting the possibility of new infrastructure developments in the country.

Last update: December 7, 2018

Terrorism

There is no known terrorist threat in Tonga.

Last update: December 7, 2018

War Risks

Tonga enjoys good relations with its neighbours and there is no material risk of interstate war. On 14 June 2017, Tonga signed the PACER Plus agreement, indicating a continuation of close relations with other Pacific Island nations.

Last update: December 7, 2018

Social Stability

Rioting causing property damage remains highly unlikely. However, ongoing social grievances against poverty and youth unemployment increase the likelihood of peaceful strikes and protests against the monarchy. There is a small risk of peaceful protests over the implementation of progressive policies, as demonstrated by the February 2017 protests against the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Last update: December 7, 2018