Tonga 1998

Tonga Capital

In 1998, Tonga was a nation located in the South Pacific with a population of around 100,000 people. The official language was Tongan and the currency was the Pa’anga. The government was a constitutional monarchy headed by King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, who had been in office since 1965. Tonga’s economy in 1998 relied heavily on agricultural exports, with its main exports being coconuts and fish. Tourism also played an important role; Tonga had many attractions such as beaches and cultural sites which attracted visitors from all over the world. Education was highly valued in Tonga; literacy rates were higher than average for South Pacific countries at around 85%. Despite economic difficulties due to its small size and limited resources, Tonga had managed to maintain its unique culture and traditions which provided hope for a brighter future. See 195 countries of the world.

Yearbook 1998

Tonga. In March, the Minister of Natural Resources was forced to resign following allegations of corruption and misappropriation of state resources. The capital of Tonga is Nuku’alofa. In early September, Parliament’s Speaker Eseta Fusitu’a was accused of abusing his position. 1,000 people signed a petition demanding that action be taken. As a result, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV in September decided to temporarily shut down Parliament while the charges were being investigated.

Country data

Area: 747 km2 (world ranking: 176)

Population: 108,000

Population density: 145 per km2 (as of 2017, world ranking: 181)

Capital: Nuku’alofa

Official languages: Tongan, English

Gross domestic product: 426 million US $; Real growth: 2.7%

Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 4010 US$

Currency: 1 Pa’anga (T $) = 100 Seniti


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Head of State: Tupou VI., Head of Government and Foreign Affairs: Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva

National Day: 4.6.

Administrative structure
5 administrative units

State and form of government
Constitution of 1875
Constitutional monarchy (in the Commonwealth)
Parliament (Fale Alea) with 27 members (17 by the people, 9 by nobles, 1 appointed by the king), election every 4 years.
Suffrage from 21 years of age.

Population: Tongans, last census 2016: 100,651 residents
approx. 99% Polynesian Tongans; 300 European

Cities (with population): (as of 2016) Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu) 23,221 residents.

Religions: 36% Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, 18% Mormons, 15% Catholics, 12% Free Church of Tonga, 12% Church of Tonga and others (Status: 2006)

Languages: Tonga (Polynesian language); English

Employed persons by economic sector
no details

Unemployment (in% of all labor force): no details

Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 8.0%

Foreign trade: Import: 200 million US $ (2017); Export: US $ 30 million (2017)

Tonga Capital



Export-oriented agriculture and tourism determine the economic structure of Tonga. The general economic situation has been characterized by rather weak, strongly fluctuating growth in recent years (2014: 2.3%). High unemployment remains a key problem, especially among young people. An important economic factor are the transfer payments from Tongans living abroad as well as international development aid, especially from Australia and New Zealand. The gross national income(GNI) per resident is (2017) US $ 4,010.

Foreign trade: Tonga, which joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2007, has a consistently high foreign trade deficit (export value 2014: 15.8 million Pa’anga; import value 261.7 million Pa’anga). The most important export goods are coconut oil, pumpkins, bananas, vanilla, beverages, tobacco, fish products and ornamental fish. The main imports are food, machinery, vehicles, consumer goods, petroleum products and chemicals. The most important trading partners for export are Japan, the USA and New Zealand; when importing New Zealand, Singapore and the USA.


The agricultural sector (including forestry and fisheries) generated (2014) 20.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Mainly jams, taro and potatoes are grown for the domestic market as well as coconuts, vanilla, pumpkins and bananas for export. Pigs and cattle dominate the livestock sector. In order to supply the population, however, a large part of the food has to be imported.


The industry is underdeveloped; it contributes 18.8% to GDP (2014). The processing of agricultural products is important; There are textile and construction companies in Nuku’alofa.


Within the service sector, which (2014) generated 60.7% of GDP, tourism plays a dominant role. It is the second largest source of foreign currency after international transfers. In 2012, 62,300 foreign guests came (almost one in three as cruise passengers), mainly from New Zealand, Australia and the USA.


In regional comparison, the infrastructure on the Tonga Islands is relatively well developed. The road network covers around 680 km (184 km of which are paved), mainly on Tongatapu and Vava’u. There is regular air and sea traffic between the islands. Nuku’alofa and Neiafu have overseas ports on Vava’u. The international airport is near Nuku’alofa.