French Polynesia has 118 inhabited islands, representing 3600 km² of land mass, grouped into five archipelagos: the Society Islands, the Marquesas Islands, the Austral Islands and Gambier, primarily composed of high islands, and the Tuamotu Islands exclusively composed of atolls of madreporic origin (narrow ring of corail, with no relief). The high islands are surrounded by lagoons with beaches of white sand. Other islands have no lagoon with beaches of black sand. The highest peak is Mount Orohena, in Tahiti, with an altitude of 2240 meters.
French Polynesia’s climate is warm and humid, tempered by southeast trade winds. The alternation between dry seasons and wet seasons presents low contrasts: the climate is hot and rainy from November to April and cool and dry from May to October. Average temperature is 25.8 °C in February, the warmest month, and 24.3°C in August, the coldest month. The tiare mā’ohi, is the national flower.
French Polynesia is an overseas country of the French Republic whose autonomy is declared in Article 74 of the French Constitution. It has an enhanced autonomy status since 2004. Its citizens are French citizens.
French Polynesia’s institutions are: the President (elected by the Assembly), the Government (the Ministers are chosen by the President), the Assembly (57 members elected for 5 years by direct universal suffrage) and the Economic, Social, Environmental and Cultural Council (48 members).
Since the end of the 90s, French Polynesia has focused its economic reform on three main export activities: tourism, pearl farming and fishing. At the same time a policy of active regional integration has been initiated. However, these key activities have been substantially impacted by the global crisis which led French Polynesia to develop new industries, such as digital economy and renewable energies. The food processing, building and textile industries have been developing continuously over the last few years. Other sectors include the monoi, fruit juice sectors and coconut oil.
In 2009, Fa’ahotu association was created as the first Polynesian pole for innovation for the valorization of natural resources. Tahiti Fa’ahotu brings together Polynesian companies and local research and training organizations and was recognized by the French Government in May 2010 as a “cluster of companies”.
Renewable energies account for around 30% of electricity production in French Polynesia and are mainly located in Tahiti. The Polynesian context is particularly favourable to the development of alternative energies, such as solar thermal energy and air conditioning using deep sea water.
GDP: 624 billion F CFP (2018)
GDP per capita: 2.2 million F CFP (2018)
French Polynesia is increasingly taking part in EU programmes. So far, it has been successfully involved in Horizon2020, Cosme, Erasmus+, European Solidarity Corps and BEST2.0.
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