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Tuvalu Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Funafuti

Local Time: UTC +12h

Location: Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia.
Area: 26 sq. km.
Terrain: Very low lying and narrow coral atolls.

Climate: Tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March-November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November-March).

Type: Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 1 October 1978 (from U.K.).
Constitution: 1 October 1978.

Nationality: Noun--Tuvaluan (s); adjective--Tuvaluan.
Population: 12 000 (2002 est.)
Ethnic groups: Polynesians 96%, Micronesians 4%. Religion: Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%; Seventh-day Adventist 1.4%, Baha'I 1%, other 0.6%.
Languages: Tuvaluan, English. Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui) also spoken. Literacy: 55%


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

Natural resources: Coconuts; fish.

Internet Links

Official Sites of Tuvalu

Consulate of Tuvalu in Switzerland

Tuvalu Official Statistics Information

Tuvalu Islands Maps

Map of Tuvalu

Oceania reference map.



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 the next dozen years.

Geography Tuvalu

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

Geographic coordinates:  8 00 S, 178 00 E

Map references:  Oceania

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

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

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  24 km

Maritime claims:   12 NM exclusive economic zone: Climate:  tropical;
moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales
and heavy rain (November to March)

Terrain:  very low-lying and narrow coral atolls

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

Natural resources:  fish

Land use:  arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

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

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 very 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

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Climate Change,
Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Ozone Layer Protection,
Ship Pollution signed, but not ratified: Geography - note:  one of the
smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the 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 Tuvalu

Population:  11,146 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 32.6% (male 1,851; female 1,785) 15-64 years:
62.3% (male 3,335; female 3,607) 65 years and over: 5.1% (male 233;
female 335) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.4% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  21.44 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  7.45 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.7 male(s)/female total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  22 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   69.23 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  3.07 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

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

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Tuvaluan(s) adjective: Tuvaluan

Ethnic groups:  Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%

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

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

Literacy:  definition: percentage of people over the age of 15 who can
read and write total population: 55% (1996) male: NA% female: NA%

Government Tuvalu

Country name:   Tuvalu note:  traditionally inhabited islands former:
Ellice Islands

Government type:  constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy;
began debating republic status in 1992

Capital:  Fongafale

Administrative divisions:  none

Independence:  1 October 1978 (from UK)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 1 October (1978)

Constitution:  1 October 1978

Legal system:  NA

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February
1952), represented by Governor General Sir Tomasi PUAPUA, M.D. (since
26 June 1998) elections:  the recommendation of the prime minister;
prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from the members
of Parliament; election last held 13 December 2001 (next to be held by
August 2002) election results:  cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor
general on the recommendation of the prime minister head of government:
Prime Minister Koloa TALAKE (since 13 December 2001); TALAKE took over
after Prime Minister Faimalaga LUKA was ousted in a vote of no-confidence

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 25 July 2002 (next to be held NA
2006) election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 15

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)

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

Political pressure groups and leaders:  none

International organization participation:  ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, IFRCS
(associate), ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WTrO

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,
New York 10017, telephone: [1] (212) 490-0534

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

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

Economy Tuvalu

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. Government revenues largely come from the sale
of stamps and coins and worker remittances. About 1,000 Tuvaluans work
in Nauru in the phosphate mining industry. Nauru has begun repatriating
Tuvaluans, however, as phosphate resources decline.  Substantial income
is received annually from 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 has grown from an initial $17 million to over $35 million
in 1999. The US government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu,
with 1999 payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries at about $9 million,
a total which is expected to rise annually. In an effort to reduce its
dependence on foreign aid, the government is pursuing public sector
reforms, including privatization of some government functions and
personnel cuts of up to 7%. In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from
use of its area code for "900" lines and in 2000, from the lease of its
".tv" Internet domain name. Royalties from these new technology sources
could raise GDP substantially over the next decade. 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 investment income from
overseas assets.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $12.2 million (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  3% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  5% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  7,000 (2001 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  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)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $22.5 million expenditures: $11.2 million, including
capital expenditures of $4.2 million (2000 est.)

Industries:  fishing, tourism, copra

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

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

Agriculture - products:  coconuts; fish

Exports:  $276,000 (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports - commodities:  copra, fish

Exports - partners:  Sweden, Fiji, Iceland, Germany, Greece (2000)

Imports:  $7.2 million (c.i.f., 1998)

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

Imports - partners:  Fiji, Australia, Portugal, NZ (2000)

Debt - external:  $NA

Economic aid - recipient:  $13 million (1999 est.); note - major donors
are Japan, Australia, and the US

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

Currency code:  AUD

Exchange rates:  Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars per US dollar
- 1.9354 (January 2002), 1.9320 (2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999),
1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Tuvalu

Telephones - main lines in use:  1,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  0 (1994)

Telephone system:  general assessment: serves particular needs for
internal communications domestic: radiotelephone communications between
islands international: NA

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1999)

Radios:  4,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  0 (1997)

Televisions:  800

Internet country code:  .tv

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  NA

Transportation Tuvalu

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 19.5 km paved: 0 km unpaved: 19.5 km (2002)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  Funafuti, Nukufetau

Merchant marine:  total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 31,021
GRT/52,198 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here
as a flag of convenience: Germany 5 (2002 est.)  ships by type: cargo 3,
passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1

Airports:  1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2001)

Military Tuvalu

Military branches:  no regular military forces; Police Force (includes
Maritime Surveillance Unit for search and rescue missions and surveillance

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Transnational Issues Tuvalu

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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