Vanuatu economy depends primarily on its agricultural sector but tourism and its offshore financial center also helps maintain the economy of the country. Vanuatu has an estimated population of 221,500 individuals and most of these individuals are engaged in the agriculture sector. The currency is the Vatu.
More than half the population of Vanuatu works in the agriculture sector and is involved in subsistence farming or small holder farming. The main crops cultivated in Vanuatu are coconuts, copra, kava and cocoa. Timber and cattle rising are also contributors to the sector. The most important export of Vanuatu is Copra which makes up more than 25% of the total export out of Vanuatu. Vanuatu export goes to Europe, Australia, Japan and New Caledonia.
In addition to the farming, fishing also contributes to the agriculture sector. Vanuatu has a large economic zone and the government sells fishing rights to other country. The local population also engages in fishing for local consumption.
The absence of a great amount of natural resources means that the country has a high import bill. The important of machinery, food, animals, fuel and other important supplies are imported from Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.
Vanuatu is a tax haven and its offshore financial centre established in 1971 has been helping the economy of the country. The registration of offshore companies, similar to Seychelles company, provides a steady source of revenue for the government and provides employment for many individuals. Offshore banking and the registration of international trusts are some of the offshore services which are offered in Vanuatu.
Tourism has become important to Vanuatu and in an effort to improve the sector and visitor arrival the government of Vanuatu has invested into improving air access and cruise ship facilities on the island nation. The government’s interest in the tourism industry and the increase in visitor arrivals have promoted foreign investor to develop resorts and other types of accommodations providing employment for individuals. The tourism sector has been pegged as one of the sectors to give the Vanuatu economy a well needed thrust.
The ongoing Recognized Seasonal Employee program (RSE) program which allows unskilled Vanuatu workers to travel to New Zealand to work on farms as fruit pickers and n other positions is expected to contribute greatly to economy of the Vanuatu.