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    Tiny Tuvalu Island Makes $5 Million Annual Profit Without Efforts To Stop Its Descent Into The Sea

    Image Source: Sven Hansche / Shutterstock

    The Pacific nation of Tuvalu is making $5 million each year, despite no proactive measures to counteract the island’s progressive sinking.

    An Overview of Tuvalu

    Scattered across the Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu is composed of a series of small islands with a modest population that boasts commendable resilience. Its name, translating to “Eight standing together,” refers to the original eight islands, as the ninth was deemed too inconsequential to be considered at the time of naming. With only about 10,000 inhabitants, it stands as the second-least populous country and the fourth-smallest in terms of area.

    Daily existence on these isles is simple yet demanding. In the absence of freshwater sources like rivers or streams, collecting rainwater is vital for survival. From above, Tuvalu’s idyllic appearance is a facade; on the ground, it’s a different story, where vulnerability to climate change is glaringly evident. The proximity of the sea to the land surface, at times a mere three meters, makes it alarmingly susceptible to rising seawater levels and erosion.

    Competing with the ocean for survival, the people of Tuvalu are grappling with increasingly frequent droughts while saltwater intrusion renders their groundwater sources useless.

    The Economy of Tuvalu

    With the world’s smallest GDP, Tuvalu’s economy isn’t bolstered by tourism due to the prohibitive costs of travel. It sustains itself through selling fishing licenses and exporting copra, yet the vast ocean territory it controls harbors untapped resources.

    Ironically, the nation’s primary revenue flows from a source requiring little to no action. Owning the “.tv” internet domain has been an unforeseen stroke of luck, akin to the internet equivalent of discovering oil. Tokenized as a nod to the country’s code, the “.tv” domain has been financially instrumental for Tuvalu.

    Initially, the domain was leased for a valuable sum of $50 million over 12 years. The contract’s end in 2021 marked a period during which $1.4 billion worth of transactions involving the domain had taken place, highlighting a significant disparity compared to the initial lease.

    Revenue Streams and Development Funding in Tuvalu

    The “.tv” domain has provided Tuvalu with a new vein of revenue, and a lifeline to the world for its remote citizens. A fraction of the country’s annual income now comes from subleasing this digital asset, with famous platforms like Twitch helping augment Tuvalu’s GNI considerably.

    The digital resource contributes up to 10% of the country’s GDP, thus financing critical infrastructural advancements necessary to improve life on the islands. Initiatives ranging from educational systems to highway construction benefit directly from this revenue source.

    As a member of the international community, Tuvalu is now buoyed financially by the $5 million it earns yearly from its resourceful domain deal. This influx of funds has also paved the way for the country to afford membership fees for global organizations, fostering economic growth amidst the environmental challenges it faces.

    Image Source: Sven Hansche / Shutterstock

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