Political regime: democratical regime
President of the Republic: Emmanuel Macron
Prime Minister: Jean Castex
Currency: 119.3317 franc pacifique (XPF) = 1€
Population: 282.200 (2014), density: 649 inhabitant/km2
Port-de-France, renamed Nouméa in 1866, is a modest haven built from 1854 in the space in between hills and swamps. Fills (centre-ville, Vallée du Tir, Rivière-Salée, île Nou…) and hills levelling (Conneau, Montagne Coupée…) have been omnipresent in the development of the city since nearly 160 years and helped making it such a nice city.
One century and a half after its birth, the near to heaven city still shows some architectural wonders, like the Maison Célières or the Château Hagen. This extremely rich heritage contributes to the charms and reputation of the capital.
In 1854, the ship captain Louis Tardy de Montravel tries to establish a new military fortress, south-west from the colony. After thinking about the St Vincent Bay, he chooses “Numéa” bay which is very deep and well protected against dominant winds. He takes possession of the area the 25 of June 1854 and names it “Port-de France”. An important part of today’s city is yet underwater.
Montravel starts with building the Constantine fortress (from the name of his ship) on the hill overlooking the shore in front of Nou island. In 1855, the first city plan is designed by the officer du Génie Paul Coffyn. It includes 810 lots from 320 to 1640 square meters and will be revised in 1869. Coffyn also plans the livelling of a small hill, “Conneau”, in order to create a harbour with a pier. The works start in 1857 and last twenty years! The allow to backfill the major part of what is now the city centre.
However, the area choosen by Montravel is missing a water spring or river. The lack of drinkable water becomes rapidly a major issue. It is only in 1877 that a twelve kilometres pipe links the city to the extraction spring on the Yahoué river.
June 26th, 1859, Port-de-France become a commune by decision of the Commandant, with a mayor and municipal body made of eleven members, nominated by the Administration. However, the municipal institution is dismissed the following year. A new council will be designated only fourteen years after! In the meantime, the 2nd of June 1866, Port-de-France was rebaptised Nouméa, to avoid any confusion with Fort-de-France, in Martinique…
New-Caledonia is a French overseas territory located in the South Pacific, 1.500km est to Australia and 2.000 north to New-Zealand. It is made of a main island, called Grande Terre, and of three islands, the Iles Loyauté, which altogether represent 18.576km2. Its exclusive economic zone covers 1.450.000 km2. New-Caledonia is the third largest territory of the Pacific. 17.000 kilometres away from France, it is one of the three French territories of the South Pacific, with French Polynesia and Wallis-et-Futuna. New-Caledonia houses the world’s largest closed lagoon, and 30% of the “pristine” coral reek of the planet. In July 2008, six coral zones came to be part of the UNESCO world heritage.
Exposed to trade winds, New-Caledonia has a tropical-tempered climate, with a cold and warm seasons alternation. The maximal temperatures (above 30°C) are registered in February and the minimal (below 20°C) from June to August.
The central mountain chain acts like a barrier that separates the Est Coast and the West Coast and underlines a clear difference in terms of climate. The rather dry West is a land of niaouli trees savannah and large livestock exploitations. The more humid and luxurious West is made of dense rainforests that spread at the mountains foot and of a very narrow coastline. The highest mountain of the island is the Panié mount (1.629m).
New-Caledonia has developed communication infrastructures. The road network is 5.400 km long. The territory disposes of an international airport, one of the most important hub of the Pacific Islands region, and of ten aerodromes for domestic flights. The port of Nouméa is the first of the French overseas territories for tons of goods and the ninth French port. New-Caledonia offers a very high speed mobile coverage and digital network over the whole territory thanks to the installation of optical fibre. An underwater cable already links the archipelago to Australia and a second cable should secure the first one, thus allowing New-Caledonia to become a hub in the Pacific islands region.
New-Caledonian administration has a development level comparable to the on of the major countries of the area. With inly 270.000 inhabitants, it is the fourth economy of Oceania. With the opening of the Médipole in 2016, the territory acquired a health system of international standards, which includes an oncology centre that uses high-level treatment techniques developed in mainland France. Two other major projects were delivered in 2018, the Pôle hospitalier privé de Nouville (PHP) and the Centre hospitalier du Nord (CHN).
In addition, New Caledonia has a diversified level of primary, secondary and higher education, both public and private, comparable to that of the major European countries. Thanks to the growing expansion of the courses on offer, the University of New Caledonia welcomes nearly 30% more students than ten years ago. The number of students enrolled in higher and preparatory classes for the “grandes écoles” has more than doubled.
Finally, the Territory has an IRD Centre (Research Institute for Development), the one in Noumea being the main establishment in the French tropical overseas territories. The center's research is focused on the environment, resources and health. The IRD of New Caledonia also contributes to the Territory's influence in the region by providing the link with institutes based in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.
The institutional system
New Caledonia is a sui generis community of the French Republic which finds its institutional foundation in the 1998 Noumea Accord. It enjoys significant legislative and administrative autonomy.
The State is represented by the High Commissioner for the Republic, responsible for sovereign powers (defense, public order, justice, currency, foreign affairs) and for budgetary and legal control over local authorities.
Local institutions include congress, government, provincial assemblies, customary senate, economic, social and environmental council, and customary councils:
The congress is the deliberative assembly of New Caledonia. It is made up of 54 members from the assemblies of each province who vote on the country's deliberations and laws.
The government of New Caledonia is the executive of the territory. He is elected by the congress. It adopts the draft deliberations and laws of the country to be submitted to the congress.
It is a collegial government in which all the political groups in the congress are proportionally represented.
The customary senate, made up of 16 members, represents the eight Caledonian customary areas. His opinion must be sought (necessarily or optionally depending on the case) when adopting texts relating to Kanake identity. The South, North and Loyalty Islands provinces consist of an assembly elected for 5 years by the citizens. They have common law powers.
The economic situation of the country
Over the period 2002-2013, average annual GDP growth is estimated at 6.2% in nominal value and 3.5% in real value (that is to say adjusted for price developments), through the construction of two world-class nickel plants.
The economy of New Caledonia being very dependent on nickel prices, the government launched in 2014 a policy of diversification of the economy in order to promote growth, the competitiveness of businesses and the development of employment in the Territory . Many support policies have thus been initiated in favor of innovation, export, agriculture, renewable energies and the local processing industry.
New Caledonia’s economy is highly dependent on the nickel sector. It represents around 95% of exports in value, 20% of GDP and 20% of jobs (direct, indirect and induced). New Caledonia concentrates around 25% of the world's resources and 15% of the reserves. Three metallurgical units of global dimension (the last 2 projects required more than 7 billion euros of investment each) owned by international groups (Vale, Eramet and Glencore) are located on the main island and a fourth factory, owned 51% by Caledonian public interests, was built in South Korea, in partnership with the POSCO group.
Once production capacities are fully reached, these units, all supplied by Caledonian deposits, will be able to produce more than 200,000 tonnes of contained nickel, or 10% of world consumption. In addition to this industrial production, Caledonian miners export crude nickel ores to Japan and China.
The emergence of new industrial sites, both in terms of production capacity and deployed technologies, is the result of New Caledonia's desire to increase the share of added value generated locally by the sector and to promote economic rebalancing between the provinces as part of a long-term vision
New Caledonia benefits from cultural wealth and diverse landscapes that differentiate it from other Pacific islands. With a capital that looks like a French seaside town, it embodies the "French Touch" of the Pacific, fused with Melanesian and Oceanian cultures. The range of accommodation available is diverse, ranging from tribal hospitality to five-star hotels of international brands (Le Méridien, Sheraton, Hilton, etc.). The multitude of land and nautical activities makes it possible to target a wide range of niche markets.
New Caledonia attracts more than 115,000 tourists each year, a constantly increasing figure, and, in 2016, more than 500,000 cruise passengers, making the Territory the second French cruise port after Marseille. At the end of 2016, the government and the provinces initiated a new tourism development strategy, favoring the development of sustainable tourism, encouraging the construction of new hotels and strengthening the reputation of New Caledonia in the region and among the new source markets. such as China.
The attendance targets set by the new strategy amount to 200,000 tourists and more than one million cruise passengers by 2025.
In accordance with its institutional status and the principle of shared sovereignty applicable, according to the Nouméa Agreement, to the exercise of international relations, New Caledonia has important powers in this area.
The government's foreign policy revolves around three axes
First, the strengthening of its multilateral action.
New Caledonia is a member of numerous regional technical organizations. It hosts in Noumea the headquarters of the Pacific Community (SPC), the main of these organizations.
In 2016, it became a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the largest regional political organization, this membership enabling it to take full part in major regional decisions. In addition, New Caledonia has recently joined the International Organization of La Francophonie and plans to join UNESCO in 2017.
The development of its bilateral relations
The government of New Caledonia maintains close relations with several of its neighbors, including Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand. Since 2016, it has engaged in an ambitious process of strengthening its political dialogue with these countries. Cooperation agreements have thus been concluded with Vanuatu and New Zealand. They define priorities for collaboration with these countries. The next such agreements are expected to be concluded by the end of this year with Australia and the Solomon Islands.
The development of true economic diplomacy
New Caledonia's regional integration is largely based on the international influence of its economy. The Orientation Plan for New Caledonia's export support, adopted in October 2017, defines the government's strategy in favor of greater international projection of its economic players. This international policy contributes directly to the institutional emancipation of New Caledonia
Foreign direct investment
New Caledonia has observed a drop in foreign direct investment due to the end of financial transfers from the mining group GLENCORE to its subsidiary KNS during the construction of its factory. However, it retains 3rd place in the Pacific Islander in terms of investment destination. The institutions have set up a reception framework promoting foreign investment, including various support tools, including tax exemption and public aid.
The specifics of commercial relations
New Caledonia has observed a drop in foreign direct investment due to the end of financial transfers from the mining group GLENCORE to its subsidiary KNS during the construction of its factory. However, it retains 3rd place in the Pacific Islander in terms of investment destination. The institutions have set up a reception framework favoring foreign investments, including various support tools, including tax exemption and individual public aid.
In addition, the Nouméa agreement provides for giving priority to the employment of Caledonian citizens in businesses in the country. Foreigners are generally surprised by the informal nature of the working relationships and by the outspokenness of their interlocutors. Indeed, Caledonians are known to be open, direct and spontaneous in their speech, but remain courteous even in case of disagreement.
Specifications of business relations
Because of New Caledonia's remoteness, its history and its industrial culture, Caledonians have a pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit. Relationships based on trust, openness and giving their word are essential values in the local economic world.
Working relationships within the company are marked by the multicultural character of the Territory, requiring respect and consideration of the values of everyone. In addition, the Noumea Agreement provides for priority to be given to the employment of New Caledonian citizens within the country's companies.
Foreigners are generally surprised by the informal nature of labor relations and by the frankness of their interlocutors. Indeed, Caledonians are known to be naturally open, direct and spontaneous in their speech, but remain courteous even in the event of disagreement.