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Factors From The World Factbook -- Tuvalu
Tuvalu
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Tuvalu    Introduction Top of Page
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.
Tuvalu    Geography Top of Page
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 land:  26 sq km water:  0 sq km
Area - comparative: 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 24 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone:  24 NM exclusive economic zone:  200 NM territorial sea:  12 NM
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% permanent pastures:  0% forests and woodland:  0% other:  100% (1993 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
Environment - international agreements: party to:  Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution signed, but not ratified:  Biodiversity, Law of the Sea
Geography - note: one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; five of the coral atolls enclose sizable lagoons, but the other four are just pinnacles
Tuvalu    People Top of Page
Population: 10,991 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  33.28% (male 1,862; female 1,796) 15-64 years:  61.6% (male 3,241; female 3,529) 65 years and over:  5.12% (male 236; female 327) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.4% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 21.56 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 7.55 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth:  1.04 male(s)/female under 15 years:  1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years:  0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over:  0.72 male(s)/female total population:  0.94 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 22.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population:  66.65 years male:  64.52 years female:  68.88 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.09 children born/woman (2001 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%
Religions: Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%
Languages: Tuvaluan, English
Literacy: definition:  NA total population:  NA% male:  NA% female:  NA%
Tuvalu    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  none conventional short form:  Tuvalu former:  Ellice Islands
Government type: constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy; began debating republic status in 1992
Capital: Funafuti
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) head of government:  Acting Prime Minister Lagitupu (of Nanumea) TUILIMU (since 8 December 2000); note - TUILIMU took over after Prime Minister Ionatana IONATANA died suddenly of a heart attack on 8 December 2000 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 27 April 1999 (next to be held NA 2002) election results:  results of the last election for prime minister - Ionatana IONATANA elected prime minister; percent of Parliament vote - NA%; Lagitupu (of Nanumea) TUILIMU elected deputy prime minister; percent of Parliament vote - NA%; note - Deputy Prime Minister Lagitupu (of Nanumea) TUILIMU became acting prime minister following the death of Prime Minister Ionatana IONATANA on 8 December 2000
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Fale I Fono, also called House of Assembly (12 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections:  last held 26-27 March 1998 (next to be held by NA 2002) election results:  percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 12
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), Intelsat (nonsignatory user), ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WTrO (applicant)
Diplomatic representation in the US: Tuvalu does not have an embassy in the US
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
Tuvalu    Economy Top of Page
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. 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 three or more times over the next decade. In 1999, with merchandise exports falling and financing reaching less than 5% of imports, continued reliance was placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and investment income from overseas assets to cover the trade deficit.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $11.6 million (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,100 (1999 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): 7% (1999 est.)
Labor force: NA
Labor force - by occupation: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those working abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues:  $6.2 million expenditures:  $6.1 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 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: $165,000 (f.o.b., 1989)
Exports - commodities: copra
Exports - partners: Fiji, Australia, NZ
Imports: $4.4 million (c.i.f., 1989)
Imports - commodities: food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
Imports - partners: Fiji, Australia, NZ
Debt - external: $NA
Economic aid - recipient: $13 million (1999 est.); note - major donors are Japan and Australia
Currency: Australian dollar (AUD); note - there is also a Tuvaluan dollar
Currency code: AUD
Exchange rates: Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.7995 (January 2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997), 1.2773 (1996)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Tuvalu    Communications Top of Page
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 (1998)
Radios: 4,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 0 (1997)
Televisions: 800
Internet country code: .tv
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: NA
Tuvalu    Transportation Top of Page
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total:  8 km paved:  0 km unpaved:  8 km (1996)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Funafuti, Nukufetau
Merchant marine: total:  9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 52,135 GRT/68,300 DWT ships by type:  cargo 5, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 2 (2000 est.)
Airports: 1 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total:  1 1,524 to 2,437 m:  1 (2000 est.)
Tuvalu    Military Top of Page
Military branches: no regular military forces; Police Force includes Maritime Surveillance Unit for search and rescue missions and surveillance operations
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%
Tuvalu    Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: none


* based on information from the CIA World Factbook
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