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  Tuvalu   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

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.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
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

Climate:
tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)

Map references:
Australia/Oceania

Geographic coordinates:
8 00 S, 178 00 E

Natural resources:
fish

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m

Terrain:
very low-lying and narrow coral atolls

Geography - note:
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

Area:
total: 26 sq km
land: 26 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Location:
Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia

Coastline:
24 km

Area - comparative:
0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
NA

Environment - current issues:
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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
severe tropical storms are usually rare, but, in 1997, there were three cyclones; low level of islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 66.67%
other: 33.33% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
2.94 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.59 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.97 years
male: 66.7 years
female: 71.36 years (2008 est.)

Literacy:
NA

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%

Median age:
total: 25.2 years
male: 24.2 years
female: 26.4 years (2008 est.)

Population:
12,177 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
NA

Population growth rate:
1.577% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Tuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)

Death rate:
6.98 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.97 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2001)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 29.4% (male 1,826/female 1,754)
15-64 years: 65.4% (male 3,891/female 4,073)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 236/female 397) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
22.75 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%

Nationality:
noun: Tuvaluan(s)
adjective: Tuvaluan

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu

National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 October (1978)

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
none

Diplomatic representation in the US:
Tuvalu does not have an embassy in the US - the country's only diplomatic post is in Fiji - Tuvalu does, however, have a UN office located at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, NY 10017, telephone: [1] (212) 490-0534

International organization participation:
ACP, ADB, C, FAO, IFRCS (observer), IMO, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO

Legislative branch:
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 3 August 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 15

Legal system:
NA

Flag description:
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 symbolizing the nine islands

Independence:
1 October 1978 (from UK)

Country name (Goverment):
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

Political parties and leaders:
there are no political parties but members of Parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings

Capital:
name: Funafuti
geographic coordinates: 8 30 S, 179 12 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: administrative offices are located in Vaiaku Village on Fongafale Islet

Constitution:
1 October 1978

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Filoimea TELITO (since 15 April 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Apisai IELEMIA (since 14 August 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: the monarch 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; election last held 14 August 2006 (next to be held following parliamentary elections in 2010)
election results: Apisai IELEMIA elected Prime Minister in a Parliamentary election on 14 August 2006

Administrative divisions:
none

Judicial branch:
High Court (a chief justice visits twice a year to preside over its sessions; its rulings can be appealed to the Court of Appeal in Fiji); eight Island Courts (with limited jurisdiction)

  Economy Back To Top

Current account balance:
-$11.68 million (2003)

Debt - external:
$NA

Unemployment rate:
NA%

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,600 (2002 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$14.94 million (2002 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$14.94 million (2002)

Exchange rates:
Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per U 1.2059 (2008 est.), 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
3% (2006 est.)

Labor force:
3,615 (2004 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.8% (2006 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 16.6%
industry: 27.2%
services: 56.2% (2002)

Exports:
$1 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

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

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 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 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.

Imports - commodities:
food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods

Industries:
fishing, tourism, copra

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Imports:
$12.91 million c.i.f. (2005)

Labor force - by occupation:
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)

Currency code:
AUD

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
copra, fish

Economic aid - recipient:
$10.49 million
note: includes distributions from the Tuvalu Trust Fund (2006)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: NA
hydro: NA
nuclear: NA
other: NA

Budget:
revenues: $21.54 million
expenditures: $23.05 million (2006)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1,300 (2002)

Telephones - main lines in use:
900 (2005)

Televisions:
800

Internet country code:
.tv

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 0 (2004)

Radios:
4,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1,300 (2005)

Television broadcast stations:
0 (2004)

Telephone system:
general assessment: serves particular needs for internal communications
domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands
international: country code - 688; international calls can be made by satellite

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
56,209 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Funafuti

Merchant marine:
total: 80
by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 30, chemical tanker 14, container 2, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 22, refrigerated cargo 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 63 (China 16, Hong Kong 7, Kenya 1, South Korea 1, Malaysia 1, Maldives 1, Norway 1, Russia 2, Singapore 23, Thailand 1, Turkey 2, Ukraine 1, US 1, Vietnam 5) (2008)

Roadways:
total: 8 km
paved: 8 km (2002)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)

Airports:
1 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military branches:
no regular military forces; Tuvalu Police Force (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 128
female: 125 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
NA

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
none

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Quiz #3
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