The Republic of Vanuatu: The Lucky Blend of Old and New

Vanuatu is a small country that consists of a few tens of islands in South Pacific. The closest nearby countries are Australia, Fiji, New Guinea, and New Caledonia. Despite its offshore location, Vanuatu is home to an incredibly diverse population. With over 160 languages and dialects, Vanuatu turns out to be one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. The Republic’s current culture spans the centuries with rural life in many areas retaining much of the character of the 19th century. Vanuatu’s political system relies on citizen participation and village leaders, known as Chiefs. Still, national policies maintain high authority and impact.

Alongside village life, Vanuatu also boasts 21st-century technology and institutions, with an undersea communications cable connecting it to the rest of the world, 4G LTE wireless access, and a modern financial center with nearly 50 years of experience as a global financial services provider.

The blend of old and brand-new is working. The subtropical climate, participatory political structure, environmental sustainability, and citizens’ well-being have mixed up together to bring the country of Vanuatu high on the Happy Planet Index several times, and it has been twice designated the Happiest Place on Earth. As a result, Vanuatu’s GDP is growing.

History of Vanuatu: The history of the country began in 2nd century BC. Historically, Melanesian people were the first inhabitants of the islands. Around 1600 B.C both Polynesian and Asia’s Lapita peoples settled in the area. Europeans first encountered the islands at the dawn of the 17th century. Vanuatu was briefly home to a Spanish settlement before France and England proclaimed it their colony. There were times when Vanuatu was under a joint English and French administration. The colonial government faced significant challenges during World War II. The very first political party in Vanuatu appeared only in 1970s. Ten years later, the Republic of Vanuatu gained independence and established a parliamentary democracy.

All about Vanuatu Government:
National Government - Vanuatu gained independence in 1980 and established a parliamentary democracy in the country. The President, the Prime Minister and the executive government (completed by the Council of Ministers) are Vanuatu governmental heads. The National Council of Chiefs is tightly bound to the traditional village system of Vanuatu. District lower councils represent the administrative body, which holds an advisory position in the government. The key aspects of their work are issues connected to culture and language. The Vanuatu’s parliament is elected every 4 years by the citizens. The parliament is responsible for the Prime Minister election. Whereas the Prime Minister forms the Council of Ministers.

Local Government – Local government in Vanuatu starts from village administrations. People are still relying on village chiefs and let them take part in village politics, economy, and society. The next level is the municipality, which is usually a single island. Municipalities come together to form six provinces with their own parliaments.

Life in Vanuatu: To communicate with locals in Vanuatu you have an option to choose one of three official languages (unless you know several local dialects): Bislama, English, and French. Such triality serves as the best reflection of Vanuatu bygones. Bislama is the native language and was adopted as one of the nation’s official languages, while English and French reflect the colonial period in the history of Vanuatu. Usually the education in state schools is conducted in English and French, but education is not compulsory. State schools have adopted a local Vanuatu curriculum. There are also both English and French private schools, which largely use curriculums from England and France. Besides, there is a plenty of state-run health care services that provide medical care for Vanuatu citizens. Foreigners may stay in Vanuatu with a resident visa or Vanuatu citizenship.

Residence and Citizenship: Both resident visas and citizenship are available to applicants without a criminal record who can contribute to the economic development of the country, either through a steady income or through direct investment in Vanuatu businesses or real estate. Resident Visas are granted to spouses and dependents of Vanuatu Citizens, to “self-funded” candidates who can prove their income and have it deposited to a Vanuatu bank, real-estate owners, and business people (among other categories). Citizenship to Vanuatu follows two paths, the residency one starts after spending 10 years as a resident of the country. In 2016, Vanuatu enacted laws allowing fast-track citizenship for individuals investing in local business and real-estate. Recently the citizenship laws have been expanded again, and for the first time dual citizenship is offered for Vanuatu citizens. Find out more about citizenship application from and from

Vanuatu Ecology and Geography: Vanuatu with its unique ecology is recognized as a distinctive terrestrial ecoregion. The wet climate along with rich volcanic soil are the best support for tropical rainforests. In addition, Vanuatu has splendid coral reefs and vivid sea life. Vanuatu lands are unsuitable for agriculture, and most of the islands are too small to support permanent populations. While there are over 80 islands in the country, only 65 of them are inhabited and only 14 are larger than 100 km2 (39 ml2). The capital of Vanuatu, Port-Vila is located on Efate island. Espiritu Santo, Malakula, and Efate are the biggest islands. Vanuatu sits on the western edge of the Pacific “rim of fire” and there is a couple of active volcanoes, both above and under the water. Mount Yasur Mount is a magnificent active volcano. Visitors can see into the magma-filled crater from the volcano rim, and watch as continuous eruptions spout magma and send rocks flying. Mount Yasur is accessible by truck, the two other active land volcanoes in Vanuatu are on the Ambrym island, and require hiking and possibly camping to visit. While it has been recognized for its environmental sustainability, both land and water are also under environmental pressure. Agriculture, logging, and fishing have damaged and stressed the local ecosystems.

Facts about Vanuatu climate: A tropical climate brings Vanuatu average daily temperatures ranging from 21–33 °C (67–91 °F). Its water is warm, ranging from 22 -28°C (72-82 °F). The cyclone season in Vanuatu stretches from December to April. In 2015, the Island was devastated by Tropical Cyclone Pam. The category 5 storm caused death and widespread destruction. Up to 90% of the buildings in Vanuatu were destroyed. The storm wreaked havoc on communication systems, infrastructure, as well as the water supply. The country worked out a strong recovery plan, and the infrastructure, schools, business. Its tourist industry is largely rebuilt, but much home repair and reconstruction is still in progress.

The Country of Vanuatu: Economics

Agriculture, cattle, tourist activity, and offshore opportunities form the pillars of the Vanuatu economy.

Agriculture and Cattle: Vanuatu exports agricultural products (copra, coffee, cocoa, and timber) and beef. There is also a significant fishing presence in the country, but the fish is mostly consumed internally, with little export. The primary source of income for the vast majority of Vanuatu’s population is agriculture.

Tourism: Vanuatu is a beautiful land with perfect options to become one of the best vacation destinations. The lure is particularly strong for scuba divers because of the rich underwater life, extensive coral reefs and caverns, and excellent wreck diving including one of the biggest wrecks accessible to recreational divers, the SS President Coolidge, a WWII era troop ship. Other highlights include easy access to Mount Yasur, an active volcano, natural hot springs, and long stretches of deserted beaches. Tourists in Port Vila and on the larger islands will experience lovely resorts, beautiful food, and Pacific island luxury. The smaller and more remote islands offer a more rugged experience for hikers, campers, and off-road adventurers.

Access to Vanuatu is easy through the air travel from Fiji, Australia, New Zealand or New Caledonia. Vanuatu recognizes more than 120 countries as visa-free for visits of less than 30 or 90 days, depending on the country of origin. Visitors do need to have a ticket out of the country and a passport that does not expire for at least 4 months to enter the country. Once in the country, travel around Vanuatu is available by air, ferry, bus, taxi, and truck.

Finance: Vanuatu’s Financial Appeal: The appeal of Vanuatu as an offshore financial service center stems from excellent communication and service infrastructure and its low taxes. The Offshore Financial Center in Vanuatu was grounded in 1971. For nearly 50 years the country has offered extensive financial services. These services currently include everything from banking services, accounting stuff, investing along with share trading, businesses, trusts, and foundations incorporation.

Vanuatu has no augmentation of capital, gift, death, or estate taxes. It also does not have tax agreements with other countries, although it is party to many Tax Information Exchange Agreements with foreign governments.

The combination of very good communications, excellent financial services, and low taxes have made Vanuatu a popular and valuable location for business.

More information about Vanuatu Finance:

Financial Service Center: You can find more on Vanuatu financial service center, visit the center’s website at

Investment and Tax Opportunities: The Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority is the source of information regarding investing in Vanuatu businesses and for companies and individuals who want to make the most of Vanuatu’s tax privileges. You can find more on investment and tax opportunities can be found at

Business and charitable organizations: Formation and incorporation of commercial and charity structures including international businesses and banks are regulated and supervised by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission. You can find more on registering these entities can be found at

Vanuatu is the place of rich contrasts, deep history, and a carefree, easy-going lifestyle. 21st-century technology is available alongside village traditions that reach back through the ages. The country is a melting pot with incredible ethnic diversity rooted in ancient times. A modern political structure relies on input from village hierarchies and community meeting traditions. A growing population and growing prosperity mark the countries trajectory, but the majority of the population is still supported by agriculture. The intense natural beauty, both on land and at sea enable a thriving tourism trade. Uncommon levels of financial freedom, ready access to in-country investment, availability of fast-track citizenship, including the option of dual-citizenship are built to encourage long-term investment and fuel the country’s continued advancement of technology, infrastructure, and quality of life.

Vanuatu is truly a blend of the best of the old and the new, and the blend is a beautiful one.