Vanuatu

Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, is made up of approximately 80 islands stretching for 1,300 kilometers. The Republic of Vanuatu's national currency is the Vanuatu Vatu (VUV). It was introduced in 1981 and replaced the New Hebrides franc. The currency doesn't have a subunit and is usually represented with the Vt symbol. The vatu is unlike most currencies since it's not issued in subdivisions like cents. Rather, it has coins issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 vatu. Meanwhile, its banknotes are issued in denominations between 200 vatu and 10,000 vatu.

Vanuatu residents sometimes use one “dollar” to refer to 100 vatu, and even though it has no official exchange rate proportional to the dollar, this reference continued being popular with locals because historically, the vatu has traded at a ratio of around one U.S. dollar (USD) per 100 vatu. Bigger transactions are accordingly frequently priced in “dollars”, such as saying a 100,000-vatu purchase is worth “one-thousand dollars”. The country's coins are all stamped with the Vanuatu coat of arms, featuring the portrait of a traditional Melanesian warrior. The Royal Australian Mint mints the coins, while Vanuatu’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu controls the currency.

Although there are above 100 Melanesian languages spoken in the country, Vanuatu's official languages are Bislama, English, and French. Vanuatu's economy relies mainly on exports of essential commodities. Timber and beef are among the most commonly exported items in the country, with neighboring Australia and New Zealand among its biggest import customers. Although Vanuatu has been growing its tourism industry in the past years, this progress was somewhat overthrown by the devastating tropical cyclone Pam—which devastated the country and the neighboring area in 2015.

Vanuatu's economy is mainly agricultural, with 80% of the population involved in agricultural work. Other economic aspects include offshore financial services, fishing, and tourism (the last of which had 50,000 tourists in 2004). Tax revenues come primarily from import duties. Also, economic development is hampered by the island's vulnerability to natural disasters and dependence on relatively few commodity exports, along with Vanuatu's distance from major markets. The government of Vanuatu has pledged to tighten control of its offshore financial center in acknowledgment of foreign concerns. The island's primary targets for growth are agriculture (specifically livestock farming) and tourism. Vanuatu receives foreign aid and tourists, mainly from New Zealand and Australia.

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