Tuvalu, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia, lying east-northeast of the Santa Cruz Islands (belonging to the Solomons), southeast of Nauru, south of Kiribati, west of Tokelau, northwest of Samoa and Wallis and Futuna and north of Fiji. It comprises three reef islands and six true atolls spread out between the latitude of 5° to 10° south and longitude of 176° to 180°, west of the International Date Line. Tuvalu has a population of 10,640 (2012 census). The total land area of the islands of Tuvalu is 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi).
The National Bank of Tuvalu (NBT) is the sole provider of banking services in Tuvalu related to taking deposits, making loans and engaging in foreign exchange transactions. There is no central monetary institution or central bank in Tuvalu. The NBT performs some monetary functions for the government of Tuvalu including the holding of government accounts and foreign assets.
The NBT is the only institution in Tuvalu that provides foreign exchange transactions. The NBT buys and sells foreign exchange at rates determined by the board of the NBT who take account of the rates quoted in the international markets. The NBT cashes travelers’ cheques. There are no credit-card facilities or ATMs available in Tuvalu. The Tuvaluan dollar is not an independent currency, but a variation of the Australian dollar. Tuvalu began issuing its own coins for circulation, although these circulate alongside Australian coins and Tuvalu continues to use Australian banknotes. Loans are available from the Tuvalu National Provident Fund (TNPF), which is owned by its members and has the legal form as a mutual fund rather than a body corporate owned by shareholders. The TNPF invests social contributions from slightly more than half the country’s population, with payments from the TNPF made on retirement. The Development Bank of Tuvalu (DBT), which began in 1993, is also owned by the government of Tuvalu. The DBT provides development loans. The IMF 2014 Country Report also noted the DBT had made substantial provisions in relation to debtors.
|Agriculture||Meat, Poultry, Grains.|
|Manufacture||Textile, Energy, machinery|
|Services (Including financial)||56.2% (2002 estimate)|
The economy of Tuvalu is small and highly vulnerable to world events which influence world economies. It relies heavily on development assistance from the international communities, and this has led to a degree of complacency in its fiscal and financial management.
Between 2001 and 2009, the subsistence sector has been declining, indicating the impact of the cross-cutting issues related to the importance of cash in meeting daily needs, and the depopulation in the outer islands due to the increasing migration to the capital (urbanization), and the subsequent reduction in the production of local produce in the outer islands due to the shortage of manpower. Tuvalu continues to receive remittances from seafarers working on overseas boats but the global financial crisis which began in 2007 and continued through 2008 and 2009, has forced many shipping companies to reduce their activities and to lay off crew on their ships, including many Tuvalu seamen. The situation subsequently reduced the remittances from this source of revenue during the years 2008 and 2009.
The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians. The pattern of settlement that is believed to have occurred is that the Polynesians spread out from Samoa and Tonga into the Tuvaluan atolls, with Tuvalu providing a stepping stone to migration into the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia and Micronesia.
In 1568, Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to sail through the archipelago, sighting the island of Nui during his expedition in search of Terra Australis. In 1819 the island of Funafuti was named Ellice's Island; the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands after the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findlay. The islands came under Britain's sphere of influence in the late 19th century, when each of the Ellice Islands was declared a British Protectorate by Captain Gibson of HMS Curacoa between 9 and 16 October 1892. The Ellice Islands were administered as British protectorate by a Resident Commissioner from 1892 to 1916 as part of the British Western Pacific Territories (BWPT), and then as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony from 1916 to 1974.A referendum was held in December 1974 to determine whether the Gilbert Islands and Ellice Islands should each have their own administration. As a consequence of the referendum, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony ceased to exist on 1 January 1976 and the separate British colonies of Kiribati and Tuvalu came into existence. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978. On 5 September 2000 Tuvalu became the 189th member of the United Nations.The Constitution of Tuvalu states that it is "the supreme law of Tuvalu" and that "all other laws shall be interpreted and applied subject to this Constitution"; it sets out the Principles of the Bill of Rights and the Protection of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Tuvalu is a parliamentary democracy and Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II serving as the country's head of state and bearing the title Queen of Tuvalu. Since the Queen does not reside in the islands, she is represented in Tuvalu by a Governor-General appointed by the Queen upon the advice of the Prime Minister of Tuvalu. In 1986 and 2008, referenda confirmed the monarchy.From 1974 (the creation of the British colony of Tuvalu) until independence, the legislative body of Tuvalu was called the House of the Assembly or Fale I Fono. Following independence in October 1978 the House of the Assembly was renamed the Parliament of Tuvalu or Palamene o Tuvalu. The unicameral Parliament has 15 members with elections held every four years. The members of parliament select the Prime Minister (who is the head of government) and the Speaker of Parliament. The ministers that form the Cabinet are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister.There are no formal political parties and election campaigns are largely based on personal/family ties and reputations.The Tuvalu National Library and Archives holds "vital documentation on the cultural, social and political heritage of Tuvalu", including surviving records from the colonial administration, as well as Tuvalu government archives.From 1996 to 2002, Tuvalu was one of the best-performing Pacific Island economies and achieved an average real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 5.6% per annum. Since 2002 economic growth has slowed, with GDP growth of 1.5% in 2008. Tuvalu was exposed to rapid rises in world prices of fuel and food in 2008, with the level of inflation peaking at 13.4%. The International Monetary Fund 2010 Report on Tuvalu estimates that Tuvalu experienced zero growth in its 2010 GDP, after the economy contracted by about 2% in 2009. On 5 August 2012, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Tuvalu, and assessed the economy of Tuvalu: "A slow recovery is underway in Tuvalu, but there are important risks. GDP grew in 2011 for the first time since the global financial crisis, led by the private retail sector and education spending. We expect growth to rise slowly". The IMF 2014 Country Report noted that real GDP growth in Tuvalu had been volatile averaging only 1 percent in the past decade. The 2014 Country Report describes economic growth prospects as generally positive as the result of large revenues from fishing licenses, together with substantial foreign aid. Banking services are provided by the National Bank of Tuvalu. Public sector workers make up about 65% of those formally employed. Remittances from Tuvaluans living in Australia and New Zealand, and remittances from Tuvaluan sailors employed on overseas ships are important sources of income for Tuvaluans. Approximately 15% of adult males work as seamen on foreign-flagged merchant ships. Agriculture in Tuvalu is focused on coconut trees and growing pulakain large pits of composted soil below the water table. Tuvaluans are otherwise involved in traditional subsistence agriculture and fishing.Tuvaluans are well known for their seafaring skills, with the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute on Amatuku motu (island), Funafuti, providing training to approximately 120 marine cadets each year so that they have the skills necessary for employment as seafarers on merchant shipping. The Tuvalu Overseas Seamen's Union (TOSU) is the only registered trade union in Tuvalu. It represents workers on foreign ships. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that 800 Tuvaluan men are trained, certified and active as seafarers. The ADB estimates that, at any one time, about 15% of the adult male population works abroad as seafarers. Job opportunities also exist as observers on tuna boats where the role is to monitor compliance with the boat's tuna fishing licence. Government revenues largely come from sales of fishing licenses, income from the Tuvalu Trust Fund, and from the lease of its highly fortuitous .tv Internet Top Level Domain (TLD). In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from the use of its area code for premium-rate telephone numbers and from the commercialisation of its ".tv" Internet domain name, which is now managed by Verisign until 2021. The ".tv" domain name generates around $2.2 million each year from royalties, which is about ten per cent of the government's total revenue. Domain name income paid most of the cost of paving the streets of Funafuti and installing street lighting in mid-2002. Tuvalu also generates income from stamps by the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau and income from the Tuvalu Ship Registry.The Tuvalu Trust Fund was established in 1987 by the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The value of the Tuvalu Trust Fund is approximately $100 million. Financial support to Tuvalu is also provided by Japan, South Korea and the European Union. Australia and New Zealand continue to contribute capital to the Tuvalu Trust Fund and provide other forms of development assistance. The US government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu. In 1999 the payment from the South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT) was about $9 million, with the value increasing in the following years. In May 2013 representatives from the United States and the Pacific Islands countries agreed to sign interim arrangement documents to extend the Multilateral Fisheries Treaty (which encompasses the South Pacific Tuna Treaty) for 18 months. The United Nations designates Tuvalu as a least developed country (LDC) because of its limited potential for economic development, absence of exploitable resources and its small size and vulnerability to external economic and environmental shocks. Tuvalu participates in the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries (EIF), which was established in October 1997 under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation. In 2013 Tuvalu deferred its graduation from least developed country (LDC) status to a developing country to 2015. Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said that this deferral was necessary to maintain access by Tuvalu to the funds provided by the United Nations's National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA), as "Once Tuvalu graduates to a developed country, it will not be considered for funding assistance for climate change adaptation programmes like NAPA, which only goes to LDCs". Tuvalu had met targets so that Tuvalu was to graduate from LDC status. Prime minister, Enele Sopoaga wants the United Nations to reconsider its criteria for graduation from LDC status as not enough weight is given to the environmental plight of small island states like Tuvalu in the application of the Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI).
The dollar is the currency of Tuvalu. From 1966 to 1976, Tuvalu officially used the Australian dollar. In 1976, Tuvalu began issuing its own coins for circulation, although these circulate alongside Australian coins and Tuvalu continues to use Australian banknotes. Similar to the Faroese króna's relationship to the Danish krone, the Tuvaluan dollar is not an independent currency, but a variation of the Australian Dollar. The official international currency code is TVD. There is no central monetary institution or central bank in Tuvalu. The National Bank of Tuvalu performs some monetary functions for the government of Tuvalu including the holding of government accounts and foreign assets.Other currencies used in Tuvalu have been the Pound Sterling, prior to the introduction of the Australian dollar, as well as the US dollar, during the World War II American occupation of the islands. Gilbert and Ellice Islands banknotes have also been used on in Tuvalu, These notes were cashier's cheques backed in Pounds rather than an official, independent currency. The Yenbacked Oceania pound was used in parts of the Gilberts (now Kiribati), but Japanese influence never actually reached the Ellice Chain (now Tuvalu).In 1976, corresponding with its slated independence, Tuvalu's first coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 dollar. The set, designed by John Donald features an aquatic theme. The bronze 1 and 2 cents and the cupro-nickel 5, 10 and 20 cents were the same sizes, weight, and composition as the corresponding Australian coins they were set to constitute. However, the cupro-nickel 50 cent piece was distinct from the dodecagonal (twelve-sided) Australian 50 cent coin in that it was round with plain edges. The nonogonal (nine-sided) cupro-nickel 1 dollar piece was unique not only by its odd shape but it also predated the Australian 1 dollar coin by eight years. It was also issued long before the trend toward larger denomination coins became much more widespread in many countries. The nine sides on the dollar are meant to represent each of the nine islands and atolls composing the Tuvalu chain. Each of the coins depicts a sea animal that is native to the area, with the only exception to that being the 1 cent, which depicts an empty spider conch shell washed up on the shore.The 1976 series also included the introduction of Tuvalu's first silver and gold proof bullion coins. A silver 5 dollar piece and a gold 50 dollar piece. They are considered an official release and legal tender within Tuvalu.Although Australia withdrew their 1 and 2 cent coins from circulation in 1991 there was still demand for the two lower denominations in Tuvalu so these continued to be retained well after Australia discontinued use. However, as prices and shipping costs have progressively risen the 1 and 2 cent coins have since been withdrawn from circulation. Australia introduced a 2 dollar coin to replace the note in 1988, but Tuvaluan 2 dollar coins have never been introduced. Instead, the Australian piece circulates in place. In recent years, Tuvaluans have also taken a preference to Australia's smaller, round, brass dollar over their own large, clumsy nonogonal ones, and are thus seen a little less often. In 1994, the Queen's profile was changed in tandem with many other Commonwealth states to the more recent Raphael Maklouf design. Older coins dated 1976-1985 feature the Arnold Machin design.
After the 1994 issue, Tuvaluan coins ceased to be produced and Australian coins sent in their stead. However, Tuvalu coins remain as legal tender and continue to circulate alongside Australian ones.Tuvalu also issues a fair number of non-circulating bullion type coins and colorized commemoratives, which earns the country a small portion of its limited income.Queen Elizabeth II is depicted on all coins issued by Tuvalu; though there were calls from some politicians to abolish Tuvalu's monarchy and remove the sovereign's image from all future coins, a majority vote decided otherwise.In 1942, Local banknotes were issued by the colonial government of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 shillings and 1 Pound with equivalent value to the Australian Pound.Since 1966, the official currency of Tuvalu is the Australian dollar, with Australian banknotes having been in use prior to and after independence. 1, 2, 5, and 10 dollar notes were originally the only denominations sent, but higher denominations have since come into use. However, after independence was achieved, the $1 note was withdrawn from circulation to encourage use of the dollar coin.
|National Song||"Tuvalu mo te Atua[note 1]"|
|Currency||Australian dollar (AUD)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||45 Million USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||3.2 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$3804 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Muslims
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
1.9% Other Religions
Queen – Elizabeth II[γ]
Prime Minister – Enele Sopoaga
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||53.7 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|