Australia-Oceania :: Tuvalu

Introduction ::Tuvalu

    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.

Geography ::Tuvalu

    Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
    8 00 S, 178 00 E
    total: 26 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 238
    land: 26 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    24 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)
    low-lying and narrow coral atolls
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location 5 m
    arable land: 0%
    permanent crops: 60%
    other: 40% (2011)
    severe tropical storms are usually rare, but in 1997 there were three cyclones; low levels of islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
    since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities (the Japanese Government has built one desalination plant and plans to build one other); beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from the spread of the Crown of Thorns starfish; Tuvalu is concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country's underground water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the nine coral atolls - Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae - have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon

People and Society ::Tuvalu

Government ::Tuvalu

    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Tuvalu
    local long form: none
    local short form: Tuvalu
    former: Ellice Islands
    note: "Tuvalu" means "group of eight" referring to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands
    parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
    name: Funafuti
    geographic coordinates: 8 31 S, 179 13 E
    time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    note: administrative offices are in Vaiaku Village on Fongafale Islet
    7 island councils and 1 town council*; Funafuti*, Nanumaga, Nanumea, Niutao, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu
    1 October 1978 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 1 October (1978)
    1 October 1978
    mixed legal system of English common law and local customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Iakoba TAEIA Italeli (since May 2010)
    head of government: Prime Minister Enele SOPOAGA (since 5 August 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from the members of parliament following parliamentary elections
    election results: Willie TELAVI removed as prime minister by the governor-general on 1 August 2013; Enele SOPOAGA elected 4 August 2013 in a 8 to 5 vote by the House of Assembly
    unicameral Parliament or Fale I Fono, also called House of Assembly (15 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 16 September 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 15; 10 members reelected
    highest court(s): Court of Appeal is the Fiji Court of Appeal on Fiji Island (consists of the chief justice who visits twice a year); High Court, located on Fiji, consists of the chief justice of Fiji who presides over its sessions
    judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president of Fiji on the advice of the prime minister following consultation with the parliamentary leader of the opposition; justices of the Court of Appeal, and puisne judges of the High Court are appointed by the president of Fiji, upon the nomination of the Judicial Service Commission, after consulting with the Cabinet Minister and the committee of the House of Representatives responsible for the administration of justice; the chief justice and justices of Appeal generally required to retire at age 70; puisine judges appointed for not less than 4 years nor more than 7 years with mandatory retirement at age 65
    subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; island courts; lands courts
    there are no political parties but members of parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings
    chief of mission: Ambassador Aunese Makoi SIMATI
    chancery: Note - Tuvalu does not have an embassy in Washington, D.C.; UN office located at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (212) 490-0534
    FAX: [1] (212) 937-0692
    the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu
    light blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the outer half of the flag represents a map of the country with nine yellow, five-pointed stars on a blue field symbolizing the nine atolls in the ocean
    name: "Tuvalu mo te Atua" (Tuvalu for the Almighty)
    lyrics/music: Afaese MANOA
    note: adopted 1978; the anthem's name is also the nation's motto

Economy ::Tuvalu

    Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. Only eight of the atolls are inhabited. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports and is almost entirely dependent upon imported food and fuel. 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 most 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 $2 million in 2007. 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 TTF 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.
    $37.61 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 226
    $37.25 million (2011 est.)
    $36.98 million (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $37 million (2012 est.)
    1.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    1.1% (2011 est.)
    -2.9% (2010 est.)
    $3,400 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    $3,400 (2011 est.)
    $3,300 (2010 est.)
    agriculture: 16.6%
    industry: 27.2%
    services: 56.2% (2002)
    coconuts; fish
    fishing, tourism, copra
    3,615 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 224
    note: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $21.54 million
    expenditures: $23.05 million (2006)
    58.2% of GDP (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    -4.1% of GDP (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    calendar year
    3.8% (2006 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    -$7.7 million (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    -$11.68 million (2003)
    $600,000 (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    $1 million (2004 est.)
    copra, fish
    $16.5 million (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 221
    $12.91 million (2005)
    food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
    Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
    0.9658 (2011)
    1.67 (2011 est.)
    1.67 (2010)
    1.2822 (2009)
    1.2059 (2008)

Communications ::Tuvalu

Transportation ::Tuvalu

    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 235
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 8 km
    country comparison to the world: 222
    paved: 8 km (2002)
    total: 58
    country comparison to the world: 67
    by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 24, chemical tanker 15, container 1, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 1
    foreign-owned: 33 (China 4, Indonesia 1, Maldives 1, Singapore 19, South Korea 1, Turkey 1, Vietnam 6) (2010)

Military ::Tuvalu