Region: Oceania-Micronesia

Capital: no official capital; government offices in Yaren District

Population: 9,488 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 21 sq km

Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $5,000 (2005 est.)

The exact origins of the Nauruans are unclear since their language does not resemble any other in the Pacific region. Germany annexed the island in 1888. A German-British consortium began mining the island’s phosphate deposits early in the 20th century. Australian forces occupied Nauru in World War I; it subsequently became a League of Nations mandate. After the Second World War – and a brutal occupation by Japan – Nauru became a UN trust territory. It achieved independence in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999 as the world’s smallest independent republic. (CIA 2014)

Economy – Overview:
Revenues of this tiny island traditionally have come from exports of phosphates. Few other resources exist, with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia, its former occupier and later major source of support. In 2005 an Australian company entered into an agreement to exploit remaining supplies. Primary reserves of phosphates were exhausted and mining ceased in 2006, but mining of a deeper layer of “secondary phosphate” in the interior of the island began the following year. The secondary phosphate deposits may last another 30 years. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. In anticipation of the exhaustion of Nauru’s phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income were invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru’s economic future. As a result of heavy spending from the trust funds, the government faced virtual bankruptcy. To cut costs the government has frozen wages and reduced overstaffed public service departments. Nauru lost further revenue in 2008 with the closure of Australia’s refugee processing center, making it almost totally dependent on food imports and foreign aid. Housing, hospitals, and other capital plant are deteriorating. The cost to Australia of keeping the government and economy afloat continues to climb. Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist with estimates of Nauru’s GDP varying widely. (CIA, 2014)

Major Export Commodities: phosphates

Remittances inflows: Not available

Human Development Index 2013 ranking: Not ranked

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
US $28 million.
Major development partners include: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, E.U. Institutions, Swtitzerland (OECD 2010).

Total External Debt: US $33.3 million (2004 CIA est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: 66.4 years (CIA 2014)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species):12.1
Forested Area (percentage of land area):0.0
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita):3.9
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations membership date: 14 September 1999

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of Nauru to the United Nations
801 Second Avenue, Third Floor
New York, N.Y.10017 USA
Telephone: (212)-937-0074
Fax: 212-937-0079

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.

Updated January 2015