Samoa. According to Countryaah, Samoa struggled during the year with a recovery following a severe cyclone that ravaged the island before the New Year. Several casualties had been claimed, hundreds of homes destroyed and thousands of people homeless. The devastation in agriculture was great, and schools and health clinics had been razed. The material damage was estimated at the equivalent of about SEK 1.3 billion, a third of Samoa’s GDP. At the same time, reconstruction became a stimulus for the economy, which is expected to grow by 2.5% during the year.
The authorities’ decision to grant permission to Samoa’s first two casinos attracted criticism. According to the political opposition and the churches, gambling casinos risked destroying Samoa’s cultural and Christian heritage and creating widespread social problems.
During the year, the Parliament passed a change in the Constitution which gives a minimum ratio of women in Parliament. At least five of the 49 members of the elected assembly will be women in the future.
During the year, a new law came into force that forbids physical saga at school. The schools in Samoa have been known for tough times, where students have been hit a lot. With the new law, teachers risk fines and even imprisonment if they use violence against students. This led to an intense debate, where some teachers and parents wanted to keep the traditional system.
During the year, Samoa Air became the first airline with seats in size XL to serve passengers heavier than 130 kg. The weight of the passengers determines the company’s fare, as the Samoans are among the world’s heaviest people.
Under German domination since 1899, the Samoa were occupied in 1914 by New Zealand, which in 1920 obtained them as a mandate from the League of Nations and in 1947 as a trustee from the United Nations. After gaining independence in 1962, New Zealand continued to maintain relations between the islands and the Commonwealth until 1970, when they became a full member. The first presidential term was entrusted for life to two traditional leaders: Tupua Tamasese (d. 1963) and Malietoa Tanumafili II (d. 2007). ● Despite the introduction in 1990 of universal suffrage, political life continued to be strongly conditioned by the traditional hierarchies, to which the same parties remained linked (especially the two most important, the centrist Party for the protection of human rights, in government since 1982, and the Conservative Party for the National Development of the Samoa). The birth of a vast social opposition movement did not prevent the Party for the Protection of Human Rights from winning the 1996 elections, keeping the government under the leadership of the leader, Tofilau Eti Alesana, replaced at the end of 1998 by Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, reconfirmed in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. In 2007 Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi was appointed head of state, re-elected in 2012, which Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aleto’a Eti Sualauvi II took over in 2017. The political elections held in April 2021 recorded a significant change, putting an end – thanks to the victory of the Fast party – to the leadership of Malielegaoi, which in the following month took over as premier FN Mata’afa.