Cook Islands

Region: Oceania

Capital: Avarua

Population: 10,134 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 236.7 sq km

Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $9,100 (2005 est.)

Named after Captain Cook, who sighted them in 1770, the islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand; in 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The emigration of skilled workers to New Zealand and government deficits are continuing problems.

Economy – Overview:
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 more than one-quarter of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports 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.

Major Export Commodities: copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing

Remittances: Not available

Human Development Index 2013 ranking: Not ranked

Life Expectancy at Birth: 75.38 years (CIA 2014)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA US $13 million.
Major development partners include Italy, New Zealand, and Australia(OECD 2010).

Total External Debt: US $141 million (1996 est.)

CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 12.7 (2009) U.S. Energy Information Administration

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013. United Nations Development Programme.
U.S. Energy Information Administration,

Updated January 2015