Photos of Wallis and Futuna

Introduction

Background

The Futuna island group was discovered by the Dutch in 1616 and Wallis by the British in 1767, but it was the French who declared a protectorate over the islands in 1842, and took official control of them between 1886 and 1888. Notably, Wallis and Futuna was the only French colony to side with the Vichy regime during World War II, a phase that ended in May of 1942 with the arrival of 2,000 American troops. In 1959, the inhabitants of the islands voted to become a French overseas territory and officially assumed that status in 1961. In 2003, Wallis and Futuna's designation changed to that of an overseas collectivity.

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

Geography

Location

Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates

13 18 S, 176 12 W

Area

total: 142 sq km

land: 142 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes Ile Uvea (Wallis Island), Ile Futuna (Futuna Island), Ile Alofi, and 20 islets

country comparison to the world: 220

Area - comparative

1.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

129 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; hot, rainy season (November to April); cool, dry season (May to October); rains 250-300 cm per year (80% humidity); average temperature 26.6 degrees Celsius

Terrain

volcanic origin; low hills

Elevation

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mont Singavi (on Futuna) 522 m

Land use

agricultural land: 42.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 7.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 35.7% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 41.9% (2018 est.)

other: 15.3% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

cyclones; tsunamis

Environment - current issues

deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain) largely as a result of the continued use of wood as the main fuel source; as a consequence of cutting down the forests, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly prone to erosion; there are no permanent settlements on Alofi because of the lack of natural freshwater resources; lack of soil fertility on the islands of Uvea and Futuna negatively impacts agricultural producitivity

Geography - note

both island groups have fringing reefs; Wallis contains several prominent crater lakes

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Wallisian(s), Futunan(s), or Wallis and Futuna Islanders

adjective: Wallisian, Futunan, or Wallis and Futuna Islander

Ethnic groups

Polynesian

Languages

Wallisian (indigenous Polynesian language) 58.9%, Futunian 30.1%, French (official) 10.8%, other 0.2% (2003 census)

Religions

Roman Catholic 99%, other 1%

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.58% (male 1,702/female 1,561)

15-24 years: 14.72% (male 1,238/female 1,095)

25-54 years: 43.55% (male 3,529/female 3,376)

55-64 years: 9.92% (male 742/female 830)

65 years and over: 11.23% (male 856/female 925) (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 34 years

male: 33.1 years

female: 35.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Birth rate

12.49 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 149

Death rate

5.74 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Net migration rate

-4.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

note: there has been steady emigration from Wallis and Futuna to New Caledonia

country comparison to the world: 193

Urbanization

urban population: 0% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1,000 MATA-UTU (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.13 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.06 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.99 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 190

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.45 years

male: 77.44 years

female: 83.61 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Drinking water source

improved: rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: malaria

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands

conventional short form: Wallis and Futuna

local long form: Territoire des Iles Wallis et Futuna

local short form: Wallis et Futuna

former: Hoorn Islands is the former name of the Futuna Islands

etymology: Wallis Island is named after British Captain Samuel WALLIS, who discovered it in 1767; Futuna is derived from the native word "futu," which is the name of the fish-poison tree found on the island

Dependency status

overseas collectivity of France

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Territorial Assembly); overseas collectivity of France

Capital

name: Mata-Utu (on Ile Uvea)

geographic coordinates: 13 57 S, 171 56 W

time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

3 administrative precincts (circonscriptions, singular - circonscription) Alo, Sigave, Uvea

Independence

none (overseas collectivity of France)

National holiday

Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)

Constitution

history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

amendments: French constitution amendment procedures apply

Legal system

French civil law

Citizenship

see France

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017); represented by Administrator Superior Herve JONATHAN (since 11 January 2021)

head of government: President of the Territorial Assembly David VERGE (since 4 April 2017)

cabinet: Council of the Territory appointed by the administrator superior on the advice of the Territorial Assembly

elections/appointments: French president elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); administrator superior appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the Territorial Government and the Territorial Assembly elected by assembly members

note: there are 3 traditional kings with limited powers

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Territorial Assembly or Assemblee Territoriale (20 seats - Wallis 13, Futuna 7; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
Wallis and Futuna indirectly elects 1 senator to the French Senate by an electoral college by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term, and directly elects 1 deputy to the French National Assembly by absolute majority vote for a 5-year term

elections: Territorial Assembly - last held on 26 March 2017 (next to be held in March 2022)
French Senate - last held on 28 September 2014 (next to be held by September 2020)
French National Assembly - last held on 11 June 2017 (next to be held in June 2022)

election results: Territorial Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - 2 members are elected from the list Fia gaue fakatahi kihe kaha'u e lelei and 1 each from 18 other lists; composition - men 14, women 6, percent of women 30%
French Senate - LR 1
French National Assembly - independent 1

 

Judicial branch

highest courts: Court of Assizes or Cour d'Assizes (consists of 1 judge; court hears primarily serious criminal cases); note - appeals beyond the Court of Assizes are heard before the Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel (in Noumea, New Caledonia)

judge selection and term of office: NA

subordinate courts: courts of first instance; labor court; note - justice generally administered under French law by the high administrator, but the 3 traditional kings administer customary law, and there is a magistrate in Mata-Utu

Political parties and leaders

Left Radical Party or PRG [Guillaume LACROIX] (formerly Radical Socialist Party or PRS and the Left Radical Movement or MRG)
Lua Kae Tahi (Giscardians) (leader NA)
Rally for Wallis and Futuna-The Republicans (Rassemblement pour Wallis and Futuna) or RPWF-LR [Clovis LOGOLOGOFOLAU]
Socialist Party or PS
Taumu'a Lelei [Soane Muni UHILA]
Union Pour la Democratie Francaise or UDF

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas collectivity of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (overseas collectivity of France)

Flag description

unofficial, local flag has a red field with four white isosceles triangles in the middle, representing the three native kings of the islands and the French administrator; the apexes of the triangles are oriented inward and at right angles to each other; the flag of France, outlined in white on two sides, is in the upper hoist quadrant

note: the design is derived from an original red banner with a white cross pattee that was introduced in the 19th century by French missionaries; the flag of France is used for official occasions

National symbol(s)

red saltire (Saint Andrew's Cross) on a white square on a red field; national colors: red, white

National anthem

note: as a territory of France, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)

Economy

Economic overview

The economy is limited to traditional subsistence agriculture, with about 80% of labor force earnings coming from agriculture (coconuts and vegetables), livestock (mostly pigs), and fishing. However, roughly 70% of the labor force is employed in the public sector, although only about a third of the population is in salaried employment.

Revenues come from French Government subsidies, licensing of fishing rights to Japan and South Korea, import taxes, and remittances from expatriate workers in New Caledonia. France directly finances the public sector and health-care and education services. It also provides funding for key development projects in a range of areas, including infrastructure, economic development, environmental management, and health-care facilities.

A key concern for Wallis and Futuna is an aging population with consequent economic development issues. Very few people aged 18-30 live on the islands due to the limited formal employment opportunities. Improving job creation is a current priority for the territorial government.

GDP (official exchange rate)

$195 million (2005) (2005)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: NA

industry: NA

services: NA

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 26% (2005)

government consumption: 54% (2005)

Agricultural products

coconuts, breadfruit, yams, taro, bananas; pigs, goats; fish

Industries

copra, handicrafts, fishing, lumber

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 74%

industry: 3%

services: 23% (2015 est.)

Budget

revenues: 32.54 million NA (2015 est.)

expenditures: 34.18 million NA (2015 est.)

Public debt

5.6% of GDP (2004 est.)

note: offical data; data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

country comparison to the world: 204

Fiscal year

calendar year

Exports - commodities

copra, chemicals, construction materials

Imports - commodities

chemicals, machinery, consumer goods

Exchange rates

Comptoirs Francais du Pacifique francs (XPF) per US dollar -

110.2 (2015 est.)

89.8 (2014 est.)

89.85 (2013 est.)

90.56 (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 4,012

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 25.38 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 207

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: 2G widespread; bandwidth is limited; mobile subscriber numbers are higher than fixed-line and better suited for islands; good mobile coverage in the capital cities and also reasonable coverage across more remote atolls; recent international interest in infrastructure development; increase in demand for mobile broadband as mobile services serve as primary source for Internet access; Kacific-1 broadband satellite launched in 2019 to improve costs and capability (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity 25 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 681; landing point for the Tui-Samoa submarine cable network connecting Wallis & Futuna, Samoa and Fiji (2020)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

the publicly owned French Overseas Network (RFO), which broadcasts to France's overseas departments, collectivities, and territories, is carried on the RFO Wallis and Fortuna TV and radio stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 3,450

percent of population: 22.1% (July 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 220

Transportation

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2 (2019)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Leava, Mata-Utu

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues