General information: According to Andy Education, the Portuguese discovered this uninhabited island in 1513. From the 17th to the 19th centuries. on the island, a specific ethnic mixture was formed from the descendants of French immigrants, Africans, Chinese, Malays and Malabar Indians who flocked to the island. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 reduced the importance of the island as a stopover on the East Indian trade route.
Location: South Africa, an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.
Geographic coordinates: 21° 06′ S. latitude, 55° 36′ E
Reference map: Area
: total: 2,512 km2; land surface area: 2,502 km2; water surface area: 10 sq. km.
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 207 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles. territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical, but temperature varies with altitude; cool and dry from May to November, hot and rainy from November to April.
Terrain: mostly uneven and mountainous; fertile lowlands along the coast.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Piton de Neige 3,069 m
Natural resources: fish, arable land, hydroelectric resources.
Land use: arable land: 17%; cultivated land: 2%; pastures: 5%; forests and plantations: 35%; others: 41% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 60 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: periodic devastating cyclones (December to April); Mount Piton de Fournaise on the southeast coast of the island is an active volcano.
Current environmental issues: no data available.
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 732,570 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 32.07% (male 120,259; female 114,669); 15 to 64 years: 62.25% (men 224,347; women 231,698); over 65: 5.68% (male 16,892; female 24,705) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.57% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 21.26 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 5.52 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.97 male/female; over 65: 0.68 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 8.49 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 72.93 years; men: 69.53 years; women: 76.49 years (2000 est.);
General birth rate: 2.58 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: no data available.
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: resident of Réunion; adjective: reunion.
Ethnic groups: French, Africans, Malagasy, Chinese, Pakistanis, Indians.
Believers: Catholics 86%, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists (1995).
Languages): French (official), Creole is widely spoken.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 79%; men: 76%; women: 80% (1982 est.).
Common long form: Department of Reunion;
Common short form: Reunion; local long form: no; local short form: lie de la Reunion. Dependency status: overseas department of France.
State structure: no data.
Administrative division: none (department of France); there are no first-order administrative divisions under the classification adopted by the US government, but there are 4 districts, 24 communes, and 47 cantons.
Independence: none (department of France).
National holiday: Bastille Day, July 14 (1789).
Constitution: adopted September 28, 1958 (constitution of France).
Legal system: French legal system.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: French President Jacques CHIRAC (since 17 May 1995), represented on the island by Prefect Robert POMMIES (since 1996);
head of government: President of the General Council Jean-Luc POUDROUX (since March 1998) and President of the Regional Council Paul VERGES (since March 1993);
government: no data; elections: French president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; the prefect is appointed by the President of France on the recommendation of the French Ministry of the Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by the members of the respective councils.
Legislature: unicameral General Council (47 members, directly elected by popular vote for a six-year term) and unicameral Regional Council (45 members, directly elected by popular vote for a six-year term); elections: for the General Council last held in March 1994 (next to be held in 2000); to the Regional Council was last held on March 15, 1998 (next to be held in 2004); election results: for the General Council – distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by party – PCR 12, PS 12, UDF 11, RPR 5, other 7; in the Regional Council – distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by party – PCR 7, UDF 8, PS 6, RPR 4, various right candidates 15, various left candidates 5; note: Réunion elects three members of the French Senate; elections last held 14 April 1996 (next to be held in 2001); election results – percentage of votes for parties – no data; distribution of seats by parties – RPR 1, PCR 2; Réunion also elects five deputies to the National Assembly of France; elections last held on 25 May and 1 June 1997 (next to be held in 2002); election results – distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by parties – PCR 3, PS 1, RPR-UDF 1.
Judiciary: Court of Appeal.
Political parties and leaders: Communist Party of Réunion (Paul VERGER); Rally for the Republic (RPR) (Andre Maurice PIHOUEE); Socialist Party (PS) (Jean-Claude FRUTEAU); Union for French Democracy (UDF) (Gilbert GERARD).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: FZ, InOC, WFTU.
Diplomatic representation in the United States: none (French overseas department).
US Diplomatic Mission: None (French Overseas Department).
Flag Description: The flag of France is used.
Economy overview: Réunion’s economy has traditionally been based on agriculture. For more than a century, the main crop grown was sugar cane; in some years it accounted for 85% of exports. The government is developing the tourism business to reduce the unemployment rate, which is more than 40% of the working population. The difference between the incomes of the wealthy and the poor in Reunion is extremely large and is the cause of constant social conflicts. White and Indian communities are significantly better off than other sections of society – their standard of living is close to European standards, while ethnic minority groups suffer from the poverty and unemployment that characterize the more backward countries of Africa. The violent riots that broke out in February 1991 illustrate the seriousness of the socio-economic contradictions.
GDP: at purchasing power parity, $3.4 billion (1998 est.);
Real GDP growth rate: 3.8% (1998 est.).
GDP per capita: Purchasing Power Parity $4,800 (1998 est.)
Composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: no data; industry: no data; service sector: no data.
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: per 10% of the poorest families: no data. by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: no data.
Labor force: 261,000 people (1995).
Employment structure: agriculture 8%, industry 19%, services 73% (1990).
Unemployment rate: 42.8% (1998)
Budget: income: no data; costs: no data.
Spheres of economy: production of sugar, rum, cigarettes, handicraft production, production of flower essences.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity generation: 1.1 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 54.55%; hydropower: 45.45%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 1.023 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: sugarcane, vanilla, tobacco, tropical fruits, vegetables, corn.
Export: $214 million (free on board, 1997)
Exports: sugar 63%, rum and molasses 4%, perfume essences 2%, lobsters 3% (1993).
Export partners: France 74%, Japan 6%, Comoros 4% (1994).
Import: $2.5 billion (S.I.F., 1997).
Import items: manufactured goods, food, beverages, tobacco products, machinery and transport equipment, raw materials, oil products.
Import partners: France 64%, Bahrain 3%, Germany 3%, Italy 3% (1994).
External debt: no data. Recipient of economic assistance: no data; note – Réunion receives significant subsidies from France.
Economic aid donor:
Currency: French franc, euro.
Currency code: FRF; EUR.
Exchange rate: EUR/USD – 1.0659 (January 2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); FRF/USD – 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997), 5.1155 (1996).
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 236,500 (1997).
Mobile cell phones: 85,000 (1999).
Telephone system: satisfactory system; mostly concentrated Saint-Denis; domestic: modern landline and microwave radio relay system; international: radiotelephony with the Comoros, France and Madagascar; a recently established microwave link to Mauritius; satellite ground stations – 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean).
Broadcast stations: AM – 2, FM – 55, shortwave – 0 (1998).
Radio receivers: 173,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 22 (and 18 low power relay stations) (1997).
TVs: 127,000 (1997).
Internet country code: re
Internet providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users: 10,000 (2000).
Transport Railways: 0 km.
Roads: total length: 2,724 km; paved: 1,300 km (including 73 km of a four-lane road); unpaved: 1,424 km; note: 370 km are national, 754 km are departmental, 1,600 km are local (1994).
Ports and harbours: Le Porte, Pointe de Gale.
Merchant fleet: total: 1 ship (displacement 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 28,264 gross register tons / 44,885 long tons of gross tonnage; different types of ships: chemical tankers – 1 (1999 est.).
Airports: 2 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 2; from 2438 to 3047 m:1; from 914 to 1523 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways:
Branches of the armed forces: French armed forces (army, navy, air force and gendarmerie).
Enlistment age: 18 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 190,846 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 97,497 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: men: 6,243 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms:
Military spending as part of GDP: