Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa, is a Polynesian island country made up of two main islands, two smaller, inhabited islands, and many smaller, uninhabited islands. The national currency of the Independent State of Samoa is the Samoan Tala (WST). The WST, represented with the symbol SAT, T, ST, or WS$, can be subdivided into 100 sene. The Central Bank of Samoa issues and regulates the WST. The country used the banknotes of New Zealand before gaining its independence.
In 1967, the Bank of Western Samoa issued the first tala banknotes, five years after gaining independence. The tala pegged to the New Zealand dollar (NZD) at par. It switched to float based on supply and demand in 1975. The Central Bank of Samoa which replaced the Bank of Western Samoa issued new 50 and 100 tala bills in 1990 and suspended the one tala note. Now, tala banknotes feature important icons and locations from Samoan culture which include the residence of famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, the Samoan pigeon (Samoa’s national bird), and the headquarters of the Central Bank of Samoa. Samoa has one and two tala coins in circulation, together with 10, 20, and 50 sene coins. The most common WST banknotes include the two, five, 10, 20, 50, and 100 talas.
Like every national currency, the WST's value is ultimately backed by the strength of its economy. In WST's case, the economy of Samoa is mainly based on the export of food products such as fruit juices, frozen fish, and poultry. Other commodities, like petroleum oils, are also major exports for the nation. In general, the service sector, especially tourism, is a major contributor to Samoan gross domestic product (GDP) and is accountable for supplying approximately 50% of all jobs in the economy. Samoa has experienced moderate inflation on consumer prices in the past years, ranging between 0.4% in 2014 and 0.98% in 2019. Unemployment, in the meantime, has held steady at about 8.5% in recent years.
The biggest component of the Samoan GDP is the industrial sector at (60% GDP), succeeded by the services sector (30% of GDP). Most of the remaining 10% of GDP is attributed to agriculture. The Samoan workforce is approximately 90,000 people. Agriculture employs 2/3 of the workforce and renders 90% of exports with coconut oil, coconut cream, copra, and noni (Nonu fruit juice, as it's known in Samoa).