New Caledonia

Region: Oceania

Capital: Noumea

Population:260,166 (July 2012 – CIA est.)

Surface Area: 19,060 sq km

Currency: Comptoirs Français du Pacifique franc (XPF)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $15,000 (2003 est.)

Background:
Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s ended in the 1998 Noumea Accord, which over a period of 15 to 20 years will transfer an increasing amount of governing responsibility from France to New Caledonia. The agreement also commits France to conduct as many as three referenda between 2013 and 2018, to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.

Economy – Overview:
New Caledonia has about 25% of the world’s known nickel resources. Only a small amount of the land is suitable for cultivation, and food accounts for about 20% of imports. In addition to nickel, substantial financial support from France – equal to more than 15% of GDP – and tourism are keys to the health of the economy. Substantial new investment in the nickel industry, combined with the recovery of global nickel prices, brightens the economic outlook for the next several years.

Major Export Commodities: ferronickels, nickel ore, fish

Remittances: US 552 million USD (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: Not ranked

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Not available

Total External Debt: Not available

Life Expectancy At Birth: 76.94 years (CIA)

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Updated July 2012