Australia-Oceania :: Kiribati
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Kiribati
Location of Kiribati
 
Map of Kiribati
Introduction ::Kiribati
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.
Geography ::Kiribati
Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about half way between Hawaii and Australia; note - on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed that all of its territory was in the same time zone as its Gilbert Islands group (UTC +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction were on the other side of the International Date Line
1 25 N, 173 00 E
total: 811 sq km
country comparison to the world: 186
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands
four times the size of Washington, DC
0 km
1,143 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Banaba 81 m
phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)
arable land: 2.74%
permanent crops: 47.95%
other: 49.31% (2005)
NA
typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them sensitive to changes in sea level
heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru
People ::Kiribati
112,850 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
0-14 years: 37.6% (male 21,488/female 20,899)
15-64 years: 59% (male 32,871/female 33,690)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 1,656/female 2,246) (2009 est.)
total: 20.8 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 21.3 years (2009 est.)
2.235% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
30.2 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
7.85 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
NA (2009 est.)
urban population: 44% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 43.48 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 61
male: 48.35 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 63.22 years
country comparison to the world: 174
male: 60.14 years
female: 66.45 years (2009 est.)
4.04 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
NA
NA
NA
noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
adjective: I-Kiribati
Micronesian 98.8%, other 1.2% (2000 census)
Roman Catholic 52%, Protestant (Congregational) 40%, other (includes Seventh-Day Adventist, Muslim, Baha'i, Latter-day Saints, Church of God) 8% (1999)
I-Kiribati, English (official)
NA
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2005)
17.8% of GDP (2002)
country comparison to the world: 1
Government ::Kiribati
conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati
conventional short form: Kiribati
local long form: Republic of Kiribati
local short form: Kiribati
note: pronounced keer-ree-bahss
former: Gilbert Islands
republic
name: Tarawa
geographic coordinates: 1 19 N, 172 58 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
3 units; Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands; note - in addition, there are 6 districts (Banaba, Central Gilberts, Line Islands, Northern Gilberts, Southern Gilberts, Tarawa) and 21 island councils - one for each of the inhabited islands (Abaiang, Abemama, Aranuka, Arorae, Banaba, Beru, Butaritari, Kanton, Kiritimati, Kuria, Maiana, Makin, Marakei, Nikunau, Nonouti, Onotoa, Tabiteuea, Tabuaeran, Tamana, Tarawa, Teraina)
12 July 1979 (from the UK)
Independence Day, 12 July (1979)
12 July 1979
English common law supplemented by local, customary law
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO
cabinet: 12-member cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the House of Parliament
elections: the House of Parliament chooses the presidential candidates from among its members and then those candidates compete in a general election; president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for two more terms); election last held 17 October 2007 (next to be held in 2011); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Anote TONG 63.7%, Nabuti MWEMWENIKARAWA 32.9%
unicameral House of Parliament or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (46 seats; 44 members elected by popular vote, 1 ex officio member - the attorney general, 1 nominated by the Rabi Council of Leaders (representing Banaba Island); serve four-year terms)
elections: legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first round on 22 August 2007 and the second round on 30 August 2007 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA, other 2 (includes attorney general)
Court of Appeal; High Court; 26 Magistrates' courts; judges at all levels are appointed by the president
Boutokaan Te Koaua Party or BTK [Taberannang TIMEON]; Maneaban Te Mauri Party or MTM [Teburoro TITO]; Maurin Kiribati Pati or MKP; National Progressive Party or NPP [Dr. Harry TONG]
note: there is no tradition of formally organized political parties in Kiribati; they more closely resemble factions or interest groups because they have no party headquarters, formal platforms, or party structures
NA
ACP, ADB, C, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, ITUC, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO
Kiribati does not have an embassy in the US; there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu
the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati
the upper half is red with a yellow frigate bird flying over a yellow rising sun, and the lower half is blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the ocean
Economy ::Kiribati
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.
$579.5 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
$560.4 million (2007 est.)
$563.2 million (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$137 million (2008 est.)
3.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
-0.5% (2007 est.)
3.2% (2006 est.)
$5,300 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
$5,200 (2007 est.)
$5,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 8.9%
industry: 24.2%
services: 66.8% (2004)
7,870 economically active, not including subsistence farmers (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 32%
services: 65.3% (2000)
2% (1992 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
NA%
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
revenues: $55.52 million
expenditures: $59.71 million (FY05)
0.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
$NA
copra, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, vegetables; fish
fishing, handicrafts
NA
14 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
13.02 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
260.8 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 81
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
$-21 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
$17 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
copra 62%, coconuts, seaweed, fish
$62 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
$10 million (1999 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar - 1.2059 (2008 est.), 1.2137 (2007), 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004)
Communications ::Kiribati
4,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 216
1,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 218
general assessment: generally good quality national and international service
domestic: wire line service available on Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island); connections to outer islands by HF/VHF radiotelephone; wireless service available in Tarawa since 1999
international: country code - 686; Kiribati is being linked to the Pacific Ocean Cooperative Telecommunications Network, which should improve telephone service; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)
AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (may be inactive) (2002)
1 (possibly inactive) (2002)
.ki
41 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 212
2,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 209
Transportation ::Kiribati
19 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 137
total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2009)
total: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 4 (2009)
total: 670 km (2000)
country comparison to the world: 189
5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2007)
country comparison to the world: 109
total: 43
country comparison to the world: 76
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 18, chemical tanker 3, petroleum tanker 6, refrigerated cargo 14
foreign-owned: 31 (China 15, Hong Kong 4, South Korea 2, Singapore 4, Taiwan 5, Turkey 1) (2008)
Betio
Military ::Kiribati
no regular military forces (constitutionally prohibited); Police Force (2009)
males age 16-49: 26,377 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 18,129
females age 16-49: 20,643 (2009 est.)
male: 1,264
female: 1,242 (2009 est.)
NA
Kiribati does not have military forces; defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ
Transnational Issues ::Kiribati
none