Kiribati

Region: Oceania-Micronesia

Capital:Tarawa

Population: 104,488 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 811 sq km

Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $6,400 (2013 CIA est.)

Background:
The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892 and a colony in 1915; they were captured by the Japanese in the Pacific War in 1941. The islands of Makin and Tarawa were the sites of major US amphibious victories over entrenched Japanese garrisons in 1943. The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.

Economy – Overview:
A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Islands. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence from the UK in 1979. Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. The economy has fluctuated widely in recent years. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. Tourism provides more than one-fifth of GDP. Private sector initiatives and a financial sector are in the early stages of development. Foreign financial aid from the EU, UK, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UN agencies, and Taiwan accounts for 20-25% of GDP. Remittances from seamen on merchant ships abroad account for more than $5 million each year. Kiribati receives around $15 million annually for the government budget from an Australian trust fund.

Major Export Commodities: copra, coconuts, seaweed, fish

Remittances inflows: US $7 million (2006)

Human Development Index 2013 ranking: 121 out of 186 countries (UNDP 2013)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA US $64,660,000.
Major development partners: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, GEF, E.U. Institutions (OECD 2012).

Total External Debt: US $10 million (1999 est.)

Life Expectancy: 65.47 years (CIA 2014)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 12.4
Forested Area (percentage of land area): 15.0
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 0.3
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations Membership Date: 14 September 1999

Permanent Mission Address:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kiribati to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400A
New York, N.Y. 10017
Telephone: (212) 867-3310
Telefax: (212) 867-3320

Sources:
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2013.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

Updated January 2015