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.