Social Policies in Samoa

image of Social Policies in Samoa

The country case studies and thematic papers in this series examine social policy issues facing small states and the implications for economic development. They show how, despite their inherent vulnerability, some small states have been successful in improving their social indicators because of the complementary social and economic policies they have implemented.


Samoa is widely known as a role model in the Pacific region for its economic and social achievements since gaining independence in 1962. This indepth study traces the history of government policy and examines the fundamentals underpinning the country’s social development progress: the welfare state; social cohesion; participative democracy and the power of jurisdiction. It also examines how the fa’a Samoa, the Samoan culture, and securing external assistance enabled the country to build resilience in the face of a number of crises in the 1990s – including two cyclones and a taro blight.




In the period 2006–2010, Samoa continued to make sound progress in social development, although a mixed performance in economic development was also evident. Real economic growth was 0.6 per cent in 2006 and 6.8 per cent in 2006. There was a downward trend in 2008 and 2009, when the economy shrank by 23.4 and 21.7 respectively. The economy recovered in 2010, with a real growth rate of 1.5 per cent. The significant drop in output of the agricultural and fishing sectors contributed to negative growth.


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