The Kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian country that lies to the south of Samoa, south east of Fiji and north east of New Zealand. The Tongan archipelago comprises 176 islands, 36 of which are inhabited.
Tonga has a small open economy which is vulnerable to external shocks. The economy is heavily reliant on foreign aid and remittances from Tongans working overseas. Foreign development assistance in the form of loans, grants and direct aid is an important component of the Tongan economy.
Construction and infrastructure projects funded by donor grants and soft loans are sources of growth. Despite its economic difficulties, Tonga remained one of the best performers in the Pacific in terms of progress against the Millennium Development Goals. Agriculture is the leading productive sector, with most Tongan exports agricultural produce, while imports cover the full range of consumer and industrial goods.
Two-way trade between Australia and Tonga was valued at approximately $96 million (in goods and services) in 2018.
Australia's development focus in Tonga is on economic reform, private sector development, stronger health systems and skills development. Australia provided 135 tonnes of emergency supplies and contributed $14 million for reconstruction after Tropical Cyclone Gita struck in 2018; has offered 34 Australia Awards scholarships for Tongans to commence study in 2018; and supported 25 Australian Volunteers for International Development in 2018-19.
Australian High Commission, Nuku'alofa
Tel +676 23 244