Photos of Vanuatu



Vanuatu was first settled around 2000 B.C. by Austronesian speakers from Solomon Islands. By around 1000, localized chieftain systems began to develop on the islands. In the mid-1400s, the Kuwae Volcano erupted, causing frequent conflict and internal strife amid declining food availability, especially on Efate Island. Around 1600, Chief ROI MATA united Efate under his rule. In 1606, Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de QUEIROS was the first European to see the Banks Islands and Espiritu Santo, setting up a short-lived settlement on the latter. The next European explorers arrived in the 1760s, and in 1774, British navigator James COOK named the islands the New Hebrides. The islands were frequented by whalers in the 1800s and interest in harvesting the islands’ sandalwood trees caused conflict between Europeans and local Ni-Vanuatu. Catholic and Protestant missionaries arrived in the 1840s but faced difficulties converting the locals. In the 1860s, European planters in Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Samoa needed labor and kidnapped almost half the adult males of the islands and forced them to work as indentured servants.

With growing and overlapping interests in the islands, France and the UK agreed that the New Hebrides would be neutral in 1878 and established a joint naval commission in 1887. In 1906, the two countries created the British-French Condominium to jointly administer the islands and they established separate laws, police forces, currencies, and education and health systems. The condominium arrangement was dysfunctional and the UK used France’s defeat to Germany in World War II to assert greater control over the islands. As Japan pushed into Melanesia, the US stationed up to 50,000 soldiers in Vanuatu to prevent further advances. In 1945, US troops withdrew and sold their equipment, leading to the rise of political and religious cargo cults, such as the John Frum movement.

The France-UK condominium was reestablished after World War II. The UK was interested in moving the condominium toward independence in the 1960s, but France was hesitant and political parties agitating independence began to form, largely divided along linguistic lines. France eventually relented and elections were held in 1974 with independence granted in 1980 as Vanuatu under English-speaking Prime Minister Walter LINI. At independence, the Nagriamel Movement, with support from French-speaking landowners, declared Espiritu Santo independent, but the short-lived state was dissolved 12 weeks later. Linguistic divisions have lessened over time but highly fractious political parties have led to weak coalition governments that require support from both Anglophone and Francophone parties. Since 2008, prime ministers have been ousted through no-confidence motions or temporary procedural issues more than a dozen times.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Geographic coordinates

16 00 S, 167 00 E


total: 12,189 sq km

land: 12,189 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes more than 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited

comparison ranking: total 162

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Connecticut

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


2,528 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines


tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April


mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains


highest point: Tabwemasana 1,877 m

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

Natural resources

manganese, hardwood forests, fish

Land use

agricultural land: 15.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 10.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 36.1% (2018 est.)

other: 48.6% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2022)

Population distribution

three-quarters of the population lives in rural areas; the urban populace lives primarily in two cities, Port-Vila and Lugenville; three largest islands - Espiritu Santo, Malakula, and Efate - accomodate over half of the populace

Natural hazards

tropical cyclones (January to April); volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began on 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis

volcanism: significant volcanic activity with multiple eruptions in recent years; Yasur (361 m), one of the world's most active volcanoes, has experienced continuous activity in recent centuries; other historically active volcanoes include Aoba, Ambrym, Epi, Gaua, Kuwae, Lopevi, Suretamatai, and Traitor's Head

Geography - note

a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes and there are several underwater volcanoes as well

People and Society


313,046 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 179


noun: Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural)

adjective: Ni-Vanuatu

Ethnic groups

Ni-Vanuatu 99%, other 1% (European, Asian, other Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, other) (2020 est.)


Indigenous languages (more than 100) 82.6%, Bislama (official; creole) 14.5%, English (official) 2.1%, French (official) 0.8% (2020 est.)

note: data represent first language spoken for population aged 3 years and above


Protestant 39.9% (Presbyterian 27.2%, Seventh Day Adventist 14.8%, Anglican 12%, Churches of Christ 5%, Assemblies of God 4.9%, Neil Thomas Ministry/Inner Life Ministry 3.2%), Roman Catholic 12.1%, Apostolic 2.3%, Church of Jesus Christ 1.8%, customary beliefs (including Jon Frum cargo cult) 3.1%, other 12%, none 1.4%, unspecified 0.1% (2020 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 31.73% (male 50,721/female 48,607)

15-64 years: 63.41% (male 97,376/female 101,135)

65 years and over: 4.86% (2023 est.) (male 7,486/female 7,721)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 76.5

youth dependency ratio: 69.9

elderly dependency ratio: 12.3

potential support ratio: 15.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 24.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 23.7 years

female: 24.6 years

comparison ranking: total 174

Population growth rate

1.59% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 62

Birth rate

21.2 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 64

Death rate

4 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 216

Net migration rate

-1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 152

Population distribution

three-quarters of the population lives in rural areas; the urban populace lives primarily in two cities, Port-Vila and Lugenville; three largest islands - Espiritu Santo, Malakula, and Efate - accomodate over half of the populace


urban population: 26% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.55% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

53,000 PORT-VILA (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

94 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 72

Infant mortality rate

total: 14 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 15.4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 12.6 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 103

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.4 years (2023 est.)

male: 73.7 years

female: 77.2 years

comparison ranking: total population 122

Total fertility rate

2.59 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 66

Gross reproduction rate

1.26 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 89.7% of population

total: 92.3% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 10.3% of population

total: 7.7% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

0.17 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 91.1% of population

rural: 60.4% of population

total: 68.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.9% of population

rural: 39.6% of population

total: 31.8% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

25.2% (2016)

comparison ranking: 52

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.6 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.34 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.39 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.87 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 136

Tobacco use

total: 17.8% (2020 est.)

male: 33% (2020 est.)

female: 2.6% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 94

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11.7% (2013)

comparison ranking: 49

Education expenditures

2.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 180


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 89.1%

male: 89.8%

female: 88.4% (2021)


Environment - current issues

population growth; water pollution, most of the population does not have access to a reliable supply of potable water; inadequate sanitation; deforestation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April

Land use

agricultural land: 15.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 10.3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 36.1% (2018 est.)

other: 48.6% (2018 est.)


urban population: 26% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.55% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.54% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 64

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 144

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 8.42 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.15 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.5 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 70,225 tons (2012 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 25,983 tons (2013 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 37% (2013 est.)

Total renewable water resources

10 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Vanuatu

conventional short form: Vanuatu

local long form: Ripablik blong Vanuatu

local short form: Vanuatu

former: New Hebrides

etymology: derived from the words "vanua" (home or land) and "tu" (stand) that occur in several of the Austonesian languages spoken on the islands and which provide a meaning of "the land remains" but which also convey a sense of "independence" or "our land"

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Port-Vila (on Efate)

geographic coordinates: 17 44 S, 168 19 E

time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: there are two possibilities for the origin of the name: early European settlers were Portuguese and "vila" means "village or town" in Portuguese, hence "Port-Vila" would mean "Port Town"; alternatively, the site of the capital is referred to as "Efil" or "Ifira" in native languages, "Vila" is a likely corruption of these names

Administrative divisions

6 provinces; Malampa, Penama, Sanma, Shefa, Tafea, Torba


30 July 1980 (from France and the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 30 July (1980)


history: draft completed August 1979, finalized by constitution conference 19 September 1979, ratified by French and British Governments 23 October 1979, effective 30 July 1980 at independence

amendments: proposed by the prime minister or by the Parliament membership; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by Parliament in special session with at least three fourths of the membership; passage of amendments affecting the national and official languages, or the electoral and parliamentary system also requires approval in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2013

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, French law, and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: both parents must be citizens of Vanuatu; in the case of only one parent, it must be the father who is a citizen

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nikenike VUROBARAVU (since 23 July 2022)

head of government: Prime Minister Charlot SALWAI (since 6 October 2023)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, responsible to Parliament

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of Parliament and presidents of the 6 provinces; Vanuatu president serves a 5-year term; election last held on 23 July 2022 (next to be held in 2027); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually elected prime minister by Parliament from among its members; election for prime minister last held on 20 April 2020 (next to be held following general elections in 2024)

election results: 2022: Nikenike VUROBARAVU elected president in eighth round; electoral college vote - Nikenike VUROBARAVU (VP) 48 votes, Solas MOLISA (VP) 4 votes; note - Charlot SALWAI (RMC) elected prime minister on 6 October 2023, 29 votes for, 0 against; Prime Minister Sato KILMAN lost no-confidence vote on 6 October 2023, requiring a new election

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (52 seats; members directly elected in 8 single-seat and 9 multi-seat constituencies by single non-transferable vote to serve 4-year terms (candidates in multi-seat constituencies can be elected with only 4% of the vote)

elections: last held on 13 October 2022 (next to be held in 2026)

election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - GJP 4, NUP 4, RDP 4, IG 3, PPP 2, NCM 2, VNDP 2, LM 1, NAG 1, PUDP 1, UCM 1, VLM 1, VPDP 1, independent 1; composition as of February 2024 - men 50, women 1; percent of women 2%; note - political party associations are fluid

note: the National Council of Chiefs advises on matters of culture and language

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of 2 or more judges of the Supreme Court designated by the chief justice); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 puisne judges - 3 local and 3 expatriate)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; other judges appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, a 4-member advisory body; judges serve until the age of retirement

subordinate courts: Magistrates Courts; Island Courts

Political parties and leaders

Iauko Group (Eagle Party) or IG [Tony NARI]
Laverwo Movement or LM [Seoule SIMEON]
Land and Justice Party (Graon mo Jastis Pati) or GJP [Ralph REGENVANU]
Leaders Party of Vanuatu or LVP [Nikenike VUROBARAVUJotham NAPAT] 
Melanesian Progressive Party or MPP [Barak SOPE]
Nagriamel Movement or NAG [Frankie STEVENS Pikioune LEONARD]
Namarakieana Movement or NM [John AMOS]
Natatok Indigenous People's Democratic Party or NATATOK or NIPDP [Alfred Roland CARLOT]
National United Party or NUP [Ham LINI Bruno Leingkon TAU]
Nagwasoanda Custom Movement or NCM [Ian Toakalana WILSON]
People's Progressive Party or PPP [Sato KILMAN]
People's Service United Development Party or PSUDP [Don KEN James BULE]
Reunification of Movement for Change or RMC [Charlot SALWAI]
Rural Development Party or RDP [Jay NGWELE, spokesman]
Union of Moderate Parties or UMP [Alatoi Ishmael KALSAKAU]
Unity for Change Movement or UCM [Vari Peter JAMES]
Vanua'aku Pati (Our Land Party) or VP [Bob LOUGHMAN]
Vanuatu Democratic Party [Maxime Carlot KORMAN]
Vanuatu First or Vanuatu [Russel NARI]
Vanuatu Liberal Democratic Party or VLDP [Tapangararua WILLIE]
Vanuatu Liberal Movement or VLM [Gaetan PIKIOUNE]
Vanuatu National Development Party or VNDP [Robert Bohn SIKOLChristphoe EMELEE]
Vanuatu National Party or VNP [Issac HAMARILIU]
Vanuatu Republican Party or VRP [Marcellino PIPITE]
Vanuatu Progressive Development Party or VPDP [John NIL]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Odo TEVI (since 8 September 2017)
note - also Permanent Representative to the UN

chancery: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400B, New York, NY 10017

telephone: [1] (212) 661-4323

FAX: [1] (212) 422-3427

email address and website:

note - the Vanuatu Permanent Mission to the UN serves as the embassy

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Vanuatu; the US Ambassador to Papua New Guinea is accredited to Vanuatu

Flag description

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, as well as unity, 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

note: one of several flags where a prominent component of the design reflects the shape of the country; other such flags are those of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, and Eritrea

National symbol(s)

boar's tusk with crossed fern fronds; national colors: red, black, green, yellow

National anthem

name: "Yumi, Yumi, Yumi" (We, We, We)

lyrics/music: Francois Vincent AYSSAV

note: adopted 1980; the anthem is written in Bislama, a Creole language that mixes Pidgin English and French

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Chief Roi Mata’s Domain


Economic overview

lower-middle income Pacific island economy; extremely reliant on subsistence agriculture and tourism; environmentally fragile; struggling post-pandemic and Tropical Cyclone Harold rebound; sizeable inflation; road infrastructure aid from Australia

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$910.266 million (2022 est.)
$893.741 million (2021 est.)
$887.981 million (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 208

Real GDP growth rate

1.85% (2022 est.)
0.65% (2021 est.)
-4.99% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 168

Real GDP per capita

$2,800 (2022 est.)
$2,800 (2021 est.)
$2,800 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 193

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.056 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

7.1% (2022 est.)
2.34% (2021 est.)
5.33% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 111

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 27.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)

services: 60.8% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 115; industry 201; agriculture 24

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 59.9% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 17.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 28.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 42.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -48.5% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

coconuts, roots/tubers, bananas, vegetables, pork, fruit, milk, beef, groundnuts, cocoa


food and fish freezing, wood processing, meat canning

Industrial production growth rate

4.92% (2018 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 64

Labor force

137,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 180

Unemployment rate

5.22% (2022 est.)
4.79% (2021 est.)
4.05% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 104

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 5.4% (2021 est.)

male: 5.2%

female: 5.6%

comparison ranking: total 186

Population below poverty line

15.9% (2019 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

32.3 (2019 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 130

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3%

highest 10%: 24.7% (2019 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


14.21% of GDP (2022 est.)
21.4% of GDP (2021 est.)
15.8% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $398 million (2019 est.)

expenditures: $355 million (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 71

Public debt

48.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
46.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 113

Taxes and other revenues

14.04% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 153

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$142.128 million (2022 est.)
-$60.642 million (2021 est.)
-$20.299 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 90


$140.561 million (2022 est.)
$89.105 million (2021 est.)
$141.829 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 209

Exports - partners

Thailand 54%, Japan 18%, South Korea 6%, Cyprus 5%, China 4% (2021)

Exports - commodities

tuna, floating platforms, cargo ships, perfume plants, mollusks, copra (2021)


$577.334 million (2022 est.)
$520.15 million (2021 est.)
$449.277 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 198

Imports - partners

China 26%, Australia 16%, New Zealand 15%, Fiji 8%, Singapore 7% (2021)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, fishing ships, poultry meats, delivery trucks, lumber, rice, broadcasting equipment (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$638.537 million (2022 est.)
$664.751 million (2021 est.)
$613.637 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 161

Debt - external

$200.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$182.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 188

Exchange rates

vatu (VUV) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
115.354 (2022 est.)
109.453 (2021 est.)
115.38 (2020 est.)
114.733 (2019 est.)
110.165 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 70% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 97% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 60.7% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 35,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 62.926 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 5 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 153; exports 141; installed generating capacity 198; transmission/distribution losses 12; consumption 200

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 84.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 8.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 7.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 1,500 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 207

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 144

Refined petroleum products - imports

1,073 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 200

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

225,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 225,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 201

Energy consumption per capita

10.878 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 153


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3,437 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 209

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 250,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 78 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 182

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: for many years, 2G Global System for Mobile Communications was the primary mobile technology for Vanuatu’s 300,000 people; recent infrastructure projects have improved access technologies, with a transition to 3G and 4G; Vanuatu has also benefited from the ICN1 submarine cable and the launch of the Kacific-1 satellite, both of which have considerably improved access to telecom services in recent years; Vanuatu’s telecom sector is liberalized, with the two prominent mobile operators; while fixed broadband penetration remains low, the incumbent operator is slowly exchanging copper fixed-lines for fiber; a number of ongoing submarine cable developments will also assist in increasing data rates and reduce internet pricing in coming years (2023)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity is 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular 78 per 100 (2021)

international: country code - 678; landing points for the ICN1 & ICN2 submarine cables providing connectivity to the Solomon Islands and Fiji; cables helped end-users with Internet bandwidth; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2020)

Broadcast media

1 state-owned TV station; multi-channel pay TV is available; state-owned Radio Vanuatu operates 2 radio stations; 2 privately owned radio broadcasters (Capital FM 107 and Laef FM); programming from multiple international broadcasters is available (2023)

Internet users

total: 211,200 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 66% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 181

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,785 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 194


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 8

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 374,603 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1.66 million (2018) mt-km


31 (2024)

comparison ranking: 118


total: 2,958 km (2023)

comparison ranking: total 164

Merchant marine

total: 338 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 11, container ship 3, general cargo 101, other 223

comparison ranking: total 54

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Forari Bay, Luganville (Santo, Espiritu Santo), Port-Vila

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; Ministry of Internal Affairs: Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) (2024)

note: the VPF includes the Vanuatu Mobile Force (VMF) and Police Maritime Wing (VPMW); the paramilitary VMF also has external security responsibilities

Military - note

the separate British and French police forces were unified in 1980 as the New Hebrides Constabulary, which was commanded by Ni-Vanuatu officers while retaining some British and French officers as advisors; the Constabulary was subsequently renamed the Vanuatu Police Force later in 1980

the Vanuatu Mobile Force has received training and other support from Australia, China, France, New Zealand, and the US

Vanuatu has a "shiprider" agreement with the US, which allows local maritime law enforcement officers to embark on US Coast Guard (USCG) and US Navy (USN) vessels, including to board and search vessels suspected of violating laws or regulations within Vanuatu's designated exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on the high seas; "shiprider" agreements also enable USCG personnel and USN vessels with embarked USCG law enforcement personnel to work with host nations to protect critical regional resources (2024)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Vanuatu-France: both claim Matthew and Hunter Islands, two uninhabited islands east of New Caledonia

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Vanuatu does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; these efforts included sentencing four traffickers to prison, following their conviction in the previous reporting period; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared with the previous reporting period, to expand its anti-trafficking capacity; for the fourth consecutive year, authorities did not identify any trafficking victims and did not provide protection services to victims; for the third consecutive year, officials did not investigate any trafficking crimes; the government also did not conduct public awareness campaigns or administer anti-trafficking training for law enforcement officials; therefore, Vanuatu was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Vanuatu, and traffickers exploit victims from Vanuatu abroad; individuals from Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, and Thailand are exploited in Vanuatu; workers from China may have been forced to work in Vanuatu at projects run by Chinese companies; traffickers target migrant women in the hospitality and tourism sectors and low-skilled foreign workers in high-risk sectors, such as agriculture, mining, fishing, logging, construction, and domestic service; Chinese and South Asian migrant women are at risk for labor trafficking in bars, beauty salons, and massage parlors; Bangladeshi criminal groups lure Bangladeshis with false promises of jobs in Australia, then exploit them in forced labor in construction in Vanuatu; women and girls may be at risk of debt-based coercion in sex trafficking and domestic servitude to pay back the husband’s family for the “bride-price payments” they made to the bride’s family; children are exploited through “child-swapping” used to pay off debts, or by taxi drivers who may facilitate their exploitation in commercial sex; forced labor and child sex trafficking occur on fishing vessels in Vanuatu; LGBTQI+ individuals are vulnerable to trafficking; children may experience conditions indicative of forced labor in the illegal logging industry and in newspaper sales (2023)