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Australia-Oceania :: New Caledonia
(self-governing territory of France)
Page last updated on June 24, 2015
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New Caledonia
  • Introduction :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island became 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 a referendum between 2014 and 2018 to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and independence.
  • Geography :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia
    21 30 S, 165 30 E
    total: 18,575 sq km
    land: 18,275 sq km
    water: 300 sq km
    slightly smaller than New Jersey
    0 km
    2,254 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; modified by southeast trade winds; hot, humid
    coastal plains with interior mountains
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mont Panie 1,628 m
    nickel, chrome, iron, cobalt, manganese, silver, gold, lead, copper
    agricultural land: 10.4%
    arable land 0.4%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 9.8%
    forest: 45.9%
    other: 43.7% (2011 est.)
    100 sq km (2003)
    cyclones, most frequent from November to March
    volcanism: Matthew and Hunter Islands are historically active
    erosion caused by mining exploitation and forest fires
    consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls
  • People and Society :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • noun: New Caledonian(s)
    adjective: New Caledonian
    Kanak 40.3%, European 29.2%, Wallisian, Futunian 8.7%, Tahitian 2%, Indonesian 1.6%, Vietnamese 1%, Ni-Vanuatu 0.9%, other 16.2% (2009 est.)
    French (official), 33 Melanesian-Polynesian dialects
    Roman Catholic 60%, Protestant 30%, other 10%
    267,840 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 23.6% (male 32,311/female 30,926)
    15-24 years: 17% (male 23,218/female 22,260)
    25-54 years: 42.8% (male 57,646/female 56,939)
    55-64 years: 8.1% (male 10,698/female 11,128)
    65 years and over: 8.5% (male 10,135/female 12,579) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 48.1%
    youth dependency ratio: 33.2%
    elderly dependency ratio: 14.9%
    potential support ratio: 6.7% (2014 est.)
    total: 31.1 years
    male: 30.4 years
    female: 31.7 years (2014 est.)
    1.42% (2014 est.)
    15.57 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    5.45 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    4.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population
    note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia (2014 est.)
    urban population: 69.7% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 2.17% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    NOUMEA (capital) 181,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    total: 5.46 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 6.43 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 4.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 77.31 years
    male: 73.29 years
    female: 81.54 years (2014 est.)
    1.99 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    urban: 98.5% of population
    rural: 98.5% of population
    total: 98.5% of population
    urban: 1.5% of population
    rural: 1.5% of population
    total: 1.5% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    urban: 0% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0% of population (2012 est.)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 96.9%
    male: 97.3%
    female: 96.5% (2015 est.)
  • Government :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • conventional long form: Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
    conventional short form: New Caledonia
    local long form: Territoire des Nouvelle-Caledonie et Dependances
    local short form: Nouvelle-Caledonie
    territorial collectivity (or a sui generis collectivity) of France since 1998
    parliamentary representative democracy
    name: Noumea
    geographic coordinates: 22 16 S, 166 27 E
    time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    3 provinces; Province Iles (Islands Province), Province Nord (North Province), and Province Sud (South Province)
    none (overseas territory of France); note - a referendum on independence was held in 1998 but was rejected; a new referendum is scheduled between 2014 and 2018
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1789); note - the local holiday is New Caledonia Day, 24 September (1853)
    4 October 1958 (French Constitution with changes as reflected in Noumea Accord of 5 May 1998) (2013)
    civil law system based on French law; the 1988 Matignon Accords (signed in the Matignon Hotel) set up a 10-year period of development during which the Kanak community received substantial autonomy but agreed not to raise the independence issue
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012); represented by High Commissioner Vincent BOUVIER (since 18 August 2014)
    head of government: President of the Government Philippe GERMAINE (since 1 April 2015)
    cabinet: Cabinet consists of 11 members elected from and by the Territorial Congress
    elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; high commissioner appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the government elected by the Territorial Congress for a five-year term (no term limits); note - last election held on 1 April 2015 (next to be held in 2020)
    unicameral Territorial Congress or Congres du Territoire (54 seats; members indirectly selected proportionally by the partisan makeup of the 3 Provincial Assemblies or Assemblees Provinciales; members of the 3 Provincial Assemblies directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    note: the Customary Senate is the assembly of the various traditional councils of the Kanaks, the indigenous population, which rules on laws affecting the indigenous population; New Caledonia holds two seats in the French Senate; elections last held on 28 September 2014 (next to be held not later than September 2017); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2; New Caledonia also elects two seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held on 17 June 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 2
    elections: last held on 11 May 2014 (next to be held on May 2019)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - L'Avenir Ensemble 13, UMP 7, FLINKS 9, Union for Caledonia in France 6, Build Our Rainbow Nation 6, National Union for Independence 6, other 7
    highest resident court(s): Court of Appeal in Noumea or Cour d'Appel; organized into civil, commercial, social, and pre-trial investigation chambers; number of judges NA); Administrative Court; number of judges NA);
    judge selection and term of office: NA
    subordinate courts: Courts of First Instance include: civil, juvenile, commercial, labor, police, criminal, Assizes, and also a pre-trial investigation chamber; Joint Commerce Tribunal; administrative courts
    Build Our Rainbow Nation
    Caledonia Together [Philippe GOMES]
    Caledonian Union or UC [Daniel GOA]
    Front National or FN [Marine LE PEN]
    Future Together (l'Avenir Ensemble) [Harold MARTIN]
    Kanak Socialist Front for National Liberation or FLNKS (includes PALIKA, UNI, UC, and UPM)
    Labor Party (Labor Party) [Louis Kotra UREGEI]
    National Union for Independence (Union Nationale pour l'Independance) or UNI
    Parti de Liberation Kanak or PALIKA [Paul NEAOUTYINE]
    Progressive Melanesian Union (Union Progressiste Mellanesienne) or UPM
    Socialist Group [Jean Pierre BEL]
    Socialist Kanak Liberation or LKS [Nidoish NAISSELINE]
    The Future Together or AE [Harold MARTIN]
    The Rally or UMP [Pierre FROGIER]
    Union for Caledonia in France
    Union of Pro-Independence Co-operation Committees [Francois BURCK]
    ITUC (NGOs), PIF (associate member), SPC, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WMO
    none (overseas territory of France)
    none (overseas territory of France)
    New Caledonia has two official flags; alongside the flag of France, the Kanak (indigenous Melanesian) flag has equal status; the latter consists of three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), red, and green; a large yellow disk - diameter two-thirds the height of the flag - shifted slightly to the hoist side is edged in black and displays a black fleche faitiere symbol, a native rooftop adornment
    fleche faitiere (native rooftop adornment), kagu bird; national colors: blue, red, green, yellow, black
    name: "Soyons unis, devenons freres" (Let Us Be United, Let Us Become Brothers)
    lyrics/music: Chorale Melodia (a local choir)
    note: adopted 2008; contains a mixture of lyrics in both French and Nengone (an indigenous language); as a self-governing territory of France, in addition to the local anthem, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)
  • Economy :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • New Caledonia has about 25% of the world's known nickel reserves. 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; during 2009-10, France sent more development assistance to New Caledonia than to any of its other overseas territories. In October 2014, French Prime Minster Manuel VALLS confirmed financial support to New Caledonia totaling $500 million for the period 2016-2020. Substantial new investment in the nickel industry — including two major new plants, combined with the recovery of global nickel prices, brightens the economic outlook for the next several years. In 2015 New Caledonia is likely to help fill China’s shortfall in nickel supplies left by an Indonesian ban on nickel ore exports. The new government, which inherited a $112 million deficit in 2013, is expected to focus on bringing the territory’s budget back into balance.
    $11.1 billion (2014 est.)
    $10.8 billion (2013 est.)
    $10.57 billion (2012)
    $11.1 billion (2014 est.)
    2.8% (2014 est.)
    2.2% (2013)
    2.9% (2012)
    $38,800 (2012 est.)
    $36,500 (2010 est.)
    $27,300 (2005)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    household consumption: 55.4%
    government consumption: 22.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 38.7%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 12.5%
    imports of goods and services: -29.4%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 1.4%
    industry: 26.8%
    services: 71.8% (2014 est.)
    vegetables; beef, venison, other livestock products; fish
    nickel mining and smelting
    6% (2014 est.)
    106,400 (2010 est.)
    agriculture: 2.7%
    industry: 22.4%
    services: 74.9% (2010)
    17.1% (2004)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $996 million
    expenditures: $1.072 billion (2001 est.)
    NA% of GDP
    calendar year
    0.4% (2014 est.)
    1.3% (2013 est.)
    $1.43 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.284 billion (2013 est.)
    ferronickels, nickel ore, fish
    France 18.4%, Japan 15.7%, Republic of Korea 12.1% (2014 est.)
    $3.04 billion (2014 est.)
    $3.348 billion (2013 est.)
    machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
    France 22.2%, Singapore 18.6%, Australia 10.9% (2014 est.)
    $112 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $79 million (31 December 1998 est.)
    Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar -
    89.85 (2013 est.)
    89.85 (2013 est.)
    85.74 (2011 est.)
    90.01 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • 2.43 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    2.26 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    499,000 kW (2011 est.)
    76.8% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    15.6% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    7.6% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    15,150 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    117 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    14,670 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    3.071 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • 80,000 (2012)
    231,000 (2012)
    general assessment: a submarine cable network connection between New Caledonia and Australia, completed in 2007, increased network capacity and improved high-speed connectivity and access to international networks
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership exceeds 100 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 687; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2010)
    the publicly owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which operates in France's overseas departments and territories, broadcasts over the RFO Nouvelle Caledonie TV and radio stations; a small number of privately owned radio stations also broadcast (2008)
    AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (1998)
    6 (plus 25 repeaters) (1997)
    34,231 (2012)
    85,000 (2009)
  • Transportation :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • 25 (2013)
    total: 12
    over 3,047 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 10
    under 914 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 13
    914 to 1,523 m: 5
    under 914 m:
    8 (2013)
    8 (2013)
    total: 5,622 km (2006)
    registered in other countries: 3 (France 3) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Noumea
  • Military :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • no regular military forces; French military, police, and gendarmerie (2012)
    males age 16-49: 68,219 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 56,233
    females age 16-49: 55,983 (2010 est.)
    male: 2,272
    female: 2,167 (2010 est.)
    defense is the responsibility of France
  • Transnational Issues :: NEW CALEDONIA

  • Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu