Tuvalu, one of the world's smallest independent nations, comprises nine low-lying coral atolls with a total surface area of 26 square kilometres dispersed over 1.3 million square kilometres of the central Pacific.
Most of Tuvalu's population is involved in subsistence fishing and agriculture. Remittances from seafarers working on overseas vessels are a significant (but declining) source of income for many families. The formal economy is dominated by government activity. Fishing licences and marketing of Tuvalu's internet domain name '.tv' contribute to government revenue.
The Tuvalu Trust Fund, a publicly owned investment fund, provides a safety net against fluctuations in government income. Revenue from the Trust Fund has enabled the government to undertake development programs, including upgrading outer island schools and fisheries centres.
Australian merchandise exports to Tuvalu in 2017 totalled AUD7.7 million. Australian currency is legal tender in Tuvalu, but the country also circulates its own coins.
Australia's development cooperation in Tuvalu strengthens economic and financial management; improves service delivery in health and education; and builds climate change adaptation and disaster preparedness and response. Recently, this has included construction of classrooms, assisting the Tuvalu government with public financial management reforms and skilling up the workforce through Australia Awards Scholarships for tertiary study in Australia and across the region.