Tuvalu

Region: Oceania-Polynesia

Capital: Funafuti (Fongafale)

Population: 9,800 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 26 sq km

Currency: Australian dollar (AUD); note – there is also a Tuvaluan dollar

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $3,400 (2010 – CIA est.)

Background:
In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name “.tv” for $50 million in royalties over a 12-year period.

Economy – Overview
Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Job opportunities are scarce and public sector workers make up the majority of those employed. About 15% of the adult male population work as seamen on merchant ships abroad and remittances are a vital source of income, contributing around $4 million in 2006. Substantial income is received annually from the Tuvalu Trust Fund (TTF), an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. Thanks to wise investments and conservative withdrawals, this fund grew from an initial $17 million to an estimated value of $77 million in 2006. The TFF contributed nearly $9 million towards the government budget in 2006 and is an important cushion for meeting shortfalls in the government’s budget. The US Government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu because of payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries. In an effort to ensure financial stability and sustainability, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts. Tuvalu also derives royalties from the lease of its “.tv” Internet domain name, with revenue of more than $2 million in 2006. A minor source of government revenue comes from the sale of stamps and coins. With merchandise exports only a fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance must be placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and income from overseas investments. Growing income disparities and the vulnerability of the country to climatic change are among leading concerns for the nation. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: copra, fish

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: Not Ranked

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in US $13 million. Major development partners include: Japan, Australia, New Zealand, AsDB Special Funds, E.U. Institutions (OECD 2010).

Total External Debt: Not available

Life Expectancy at Birth: 67.2 years (UNDP 2011)

Environmental Indicators:

                                               Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 15

                                               Forested Area (percentage of land area): 33.3

                                               CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): not available

                                               (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations membership date: 5 September 2000

New York Mission:

Permanent Mission of Tuvalu To the United Nations

800 Second Avenue, Suite 400G

New York, N.Y.10017USA

Telephone: (212) 490-0534, 937-0691

Fax: (212) 808-4975, 937-0692

Website: www.tuvaluislands.com/un.html

 

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

 

Updated July 2012