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 Reunion
(overseas department of France)
[Country Flag of Reunion]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Reunion]

Reunion

Geography

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Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar

Geographic coordinates: 21 06 S, 55 36 E

Map references: World

Area:
total: 2,510 sq km
land: 2,500 sq km
water: 10 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Rhode Island

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 201 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical, but temperature moderates with elevation; cool and dry from May to November, hot and rainy from November to April

Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Piton des Neiges 3,069 m

Natural resources: fish, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 17%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 5%
forests and woodland: 35%
other: 41% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 60 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: periodic, devastating cyclones (December to April); Piton de la Fournaise on the southeastern coast is an active volcano

Environment—current issues: NA

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

People

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Population: 705,053 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32% (male 116,705; female 111,262)
15-64 years: 62% (male 214,914; female 221,502)
65 years and over: 6% (male 16,846; female 23,824) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.81% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 22.78 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 4.67 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 7.09 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.4 years
male: 72.36 years
female: 78.6 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.67 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Reunionese (singular and plural)
adjective: Reunionese

Ethnic groups: French, African, Malagasy, Chinese, Pakistani, Indian

Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, Hindu, Islam, Buddhist

Languages: French (official), Creole widely used

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79%
male: 76%
female: 80% (1982 est.)

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Department of Reunion
conventional short form: Reunion
local long form: none
local short form: Ile de la Reunion

Data code: RE

Dependency status: overseas department of France

Government type: NA

National capital: Saint-Denis

Administrative divisions: none (overseas department of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US government, but there are four arrondissements, 24 communes, and 47 cantons

Independence: none (overseas department of France)

National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system: French law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of France Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Robert POMMIES (since NA 1996)
head of government: President of the General Council Christophe PAYET (since 4 April 1994) and President of the Regional Council Margarite SUDRE (since 25 June 1993)
cabinet: NA
elections: prefect appointed by the president of France on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by the members of those councils, who vote on party lines

Legislative branch: unicameral General Council (47 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve six-year terms) and unicameral Regional Council (45 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: General Council—last held NA March 1994 (next to be held NA 2000); Regional Council—last held 25 June 1993 (next to be held NA 1999)
election results: General Council—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PCR 12, PS 12, UDF 11, RPR 5, others 7; Regional Council—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—UPF 17, Free-Dom Movement 13, PCR 9, PS 6
note: Reunion elects 3 representatives to the French Senate; elections last held 24 September 1992 (next to be held NA); results—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—RPR 1, FRA 1, independent 1; Reunion also elects 5 deputies to the French National Assembly; elections last held 25 May and 1 June 1997 (next to be held NA); results—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PCR 3, PS 1, and RPR-UDF 1

Judicial branch: Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel

Political parties and leaders: Rally for the Republic or RPR [Andre Maurice PIHOUEE]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Ibrahim DINDAN]; Communist Party of Reunion or PCR [Paul VERGES]; France-Reunion Future or FRA [Andre THIEN AH KOON]; Socialist Party or PS [Jean-Claude FRUTEAU]; Center of Social Democrats or CDS; Union for France or UPF (includes RPR and UDF); Free-DOM Movement [Marguerite SUDRE]; National Front or FN [Alix MOREL, leader]

International organization participation: FZ, InOC, WFTU

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas department of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas department of France)

Flag description: the flag of France is used

Economy

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Economy—overview: The economy has traditionally been based on agriculture. Sugarcane has been the primary crop for more than a century, and in some years it accounts for 85% of exports. The government has been pushing the development of a tourist industry to relieve high unemployment, which recently amounted to one-third of the labor force. The gap in Reunion between the well-off and the poor is extraordinary and accounts for the persistent social tensions. The white and Indian communities are substantially better off than other segments of the population, often approaching European standards, whereas indigenous groups suffer the poverty and unemployment typical of the poorer nations of the African continent. The outbreak of severe rioting in February 1991 illustrates the seriousness of socioeconomic tensions. The economic well-being of Reunion depends heavily on continued financial assistance from France.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$3 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,300 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force:
total: 242,169 (1993)
by occupation: agriculture 8%, industry 19%, services 73% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 35% (1994)

Budget:
revenues: $856.7 million
expenditures: $2.2437 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (1993)

Industries: sugar, rum, cigarettes, handicraft items, flower oil extraction

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 299,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1.105 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,659 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: sugarcane, vanilla, tobacco, tropical fruits, vegetables, corn

Exports:
total value: $171.776 million (f.o.b., 1994)
commodities: sugar 63%, rum and molasses 4%, perfume essences 2%, lobster 3%, (1993)
partners: France, Mauritius, Bahrain, South Africa, Italy, Madagascar

Imports:
total value: $2.354 billion (c.i.f., 1994)
commodities: manufactured goods, food, beverages, tobacco, machinery and transportation equipment, raw materials, and petroleum products
partners: France, Mauritius, Bahrain, South Africa, Italy, Madagascar

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:
recipient: substantial annual subsidies from France

Currency: 1 French franc (F) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: French francs (F) per US$1—6.0836 (January 1998), 5.8367 (1997), 5.1155 (1996), 4.9915 (1995), 5.5520 (1994), 5.6632 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

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Telephones: 191,647 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: adequate system; principal center is Saint-Denis
domestic: modern open wire and microwave radio relay network
international: radiotelephone communication to Comoros, France, Madagascar; new microwave route to Mauritius; satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 13, shortwave 0

Radios: 155,000 (1993)

Television broadcast stations: 3 (repeaters 18)

Televisions: 116,181 (1992 est.)

Transportation

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Railways: 0 km

Highways:
total: 2,784 km
paved: 2,187 km
unpaved: 597 km (1987 est.)

Ports and harbors: Le Port, Pointe des Galets

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Military

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Military branches: French forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Gendarmerie)

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 182,620 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 93,572 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 5,780 (1998 est.)

Military—note: defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none