Like many other south pacific island nations, the cook islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. agriculture, employing about one-third of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit. black pearls are the cook islands' leading export. manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid, overwhelmingly from new zealand. in the 1980s and 1990s, the country lived beyond its means, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth.
Self-governing parliamentary democracy
12,271 (july 2008 est.)
Oceania, group of islands in the south pacific ocean, about half way between hawaii and new zealand
Total: 236.7 sq km land: 236.7 sq km water: 0 sq km
1.3 times the size of washington, dc
Conventional long form: none conventional short form: cook islands former: harvey islands
Name: avarua geographic coordinates: 21 12 s, 159 46 w time difference: utc-10 (5 hours behind washington, dc during standard time)