Islands’ GDP figures present interesting picture


<strong>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest’s</strong> research associates in New Zealand have recently compiled the gross domestic product figures for the Pacific Islands region <!--more-->and compared these with New Zealand, Australia and some other significant players around the region and the world. The analyses present an interesting snapshot.

[caption id="attachment_3728" align="alignright" width="138" caption="Pacific Islands’ per capita GDP show wide variations. This Samoan farmer seen here is worse off statistically from his counterpart from neighbouring Tonga. Photo: Dev Nadkarni"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-3728 " title="Samoan Farmer" src="" alt="" width="138" height="104" /></a>[/caption]

World Bank, figures indicate the total GDP of 23 Pacific Islands Countries is about US$ 41 billion of which approximately US$ 20 billion is the combined value of the 14 Forum Island countries, plus about another US$ 18 billion for the three French territories, and another US$ 3 billion for the US territories, besides the three other territories of Norfolk Island, Pitcairn and Tokelau.

New Zealand's GDP, at US$ 142.48 billion, is 7.1 times more than the 14 Forum Island countries put together and about 3.5 times the combined GDP of all 23 pacific Island Countries.

Australia’s per capita GDP, however, is fast approaching twice that of New Zealand’s (US$ 60,642 to US$ 32,620). Interestingly, New Zealand’s per capita GDP is less than that of at least one Pacific Island territory’s: New Caledonia’s is US$ 36,648 per capita while French Polynesia is snapping at Kiwi heels at US$ 32,491 per capita.

Of interest is the fact that the average GDP per capita for the whole World is US$ 10,034 (so the Cook Islands at US$ 15,056 are well above that). Outside the Cook Islands Niue (approximately US$ 13,260 in 2009), the highest Forum Island country GDP per capita was Palau, at US$ 8,730, and the lowest was the Solomon Islands at US$ 1,517.

Fiji came in at US$ 4,391 in 2011, whilst PNG was only US$ 1,845 (reflecting its fast growing population, which is estimated to be 7 million, or more, thereby watering down their big mining led economy).

The other two significant economies are Tonga (which had a GDP per capita of US$ 4,161 in 2011), and Samoa (whose GDP per capita was US$ 3,532 in 2011).

How do the two fast growing Asian economies compare with Pacific Island countries’ per capita GDP? China’s was US$ 5,430 in 2011 (slightly above Fiji and Tonga and below Palau), while India’s was lower than all the Pacific Islands countries individual figures at just US$ 1,489.