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Vanuatu Country Guide

Explore Vanuatu in Oceania

Vanuatu with the capital city Port Vila is located in Oceania (Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean). It covers some 12,200 square kilometres (slightly larger than Connecticut) with 215,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Vanuatu

The terrain features mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin with narrow coastal plains. The average density of population is approximately 18 per km². The notable climate conditions in Vanuatu can be described as tropical with moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October, moderate rainfall from November to April and may be affected by cyclones from December to April. Potential natural disasters are tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April) or volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began on 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes or tsunamis.

To reach someone in Vanuatu dial +678 prior to a number. There are 7,200 installed telephones. And there are 126,500 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".vu". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Vanuatu

Vanuatu Flag Icon

Two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and green with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) all separated by a black-edged yellow stripe in the shape of a horizontal Y (the two points of the Y face the hoist side and enclose the triangle); centered in the triangle is a boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele fern fronds, all in yellow; red represents the blood of boars and men, green the richness of the islands, and black the ni-Vanuatu people; the yellow Y-shape - which reflects the pattern of the islands in the Pacific Ocean - symbolizes the light of the Gospel spreading through the islands; the boar's tusk is a symbol of prosperity frequently worn as a pendant on the islands; the fern fronds represent peace.

Multiple waves of colonizers, each speaking a distinct language, migrated to the New Hebrides in the millennia preceding European exploration in the 18th century. This settlement pattern accounts for the complex linguistic diversity found on the archipelago to this day. The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980, when the new name of Vanuatu was adopted.

National administrative regions of Vanuatu

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: Oceania
Capital: Port Vila
Size12,200 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 4,710 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than Connecticut
CurrencyName Vatu, Currency Code:VUV
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).vu
Telephone Country Prefix+678
Mobile Phone Connections126,500
Landline Phone Connections7,200

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area12,189 (sq km)164

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population261,565 183
Population growth rate2.06 (%)47
Birth rate26.35 (births/1,000 population)49
Death rate4.20 (deaths/1,000 population)206
Net migration rate-1.53 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)154
Maternal mortality rate110.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)68
Infant mortality rate17.15 (deaths/1,000 live births)101
Life expectancy at birth72.38 (years)132
Total fertility rate3.47 (children born/woman)47
Health expenditures5.30 (% of GDP)125
Obesity - adult prevalence rate27.50 (%)39
Children under the age of 5 years underweight11.70 (%)61
Education expenditures5.20 (% of GDP)66


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)1,251,000,000 202
GDP - real growth rate2.70 (%)116
GDP - per capita (PPP)5,000 161
Labor force115,900 182
Unemployment rate1.70 (%)9
Taxes and other revenues24.00 (% of GDP)129
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.40 (% of GDP)91
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.80 (%)68
Central bank discount rate6.00 (%)60
Commercial bank prime lending rate5.50 (%)151
Stock of narrow money284,600,000 173
Stock of broad money610,800,000 174
Stock of domestic credit522,400,000 169
Current account balance-126,900,000 70
Exports67,400,000 195
Imports310,200,000 199
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold173,800,000 160
Debt - external307,700,000 179
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home527,100,000 97
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad23,340,000 88


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production55,000,000 (kWh)203
Electricity - consumption51,150,000 (kWh)204
Electricity - installed generating capacity12,000 (kW)200
Electricity - from fossil fuels100.00 (% of total installed capacity)29
Refined petroleum products - consumption1,170 (bbl/day)198
Refined petroleum products - imports676 (bbl/day)199
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy146,500 (Mt)204


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use6,200 208
Telephones - mobile cellular137,000 184
Internet hosts5,655 143
Internet users17,000 195


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports31 113
Roadways1,070 (km)183
Merchant marine77 59

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Chief Roi Mata’s Domain
Chief Roi Mata’s Domain is the first site to be inscribed in Vanuatu. It consists of three early 17th century AD sites on the islands of Efate, Lelepa and Artok associated with the life and death of the last paramount chief, or Roi Mata, of what is n ...