About halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, Samoa is made up of ten volcanic islands. Most of the population of only 192,000 live on the two main islands of Upolu and Savai’i. Samoa was the first Pacific island country to become independent in 1962 and retains strong Polynesian traditions.
Samoa’s economy is driven by the service, tourism and agriculture sectors. One in five Samoans find it difficult to meet their basic needs, with the rural poor and people with disability at higher risk. Low high-school completion rates and the burden of non-communicable diseases are significant challenges to development.
Australia’s aid to Samoa is helping promote economic growth, address health and education challenges, and strengthen governance. Gender equality, disability inclusion and climate change resilience are cross-cutting issues.