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Kiribati Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Tarawa capital and main island of the Gilbert Group (pop. 30 000)

Local Time
: UTC +12h

Location: Oceania, Central Pacific Ocean.
Area: 719 sq. km (266 sq. mi.) in 32 atolls and one island.
Terrain: Archipelagos of low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs.

Maritime equatorial to tropical, dry season from May through October, rainy season from November through April.

Type: Republic - parliamentary democracy.
Self rule granted by UK - 1971
Independence: 12 July 1979 (from United Kingdom).
Constitution: 12 July 1979.
US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--I-Kiribati (for both singular and plural).
Population: 90 000.
Ethnic groups: Micronesian 98%, some Polynesian.
Religion: Roman Catholic 53%, Kiribati Protestant 39%.
Languages: English (official), Gilbertese/I-Kiribati (de facto).


Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)

Natural resources: Phosphate (commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence in 1979).

Agriculture - products: Copra, taro, pandanus, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, vegetables; fish.

Internet Links

Official Sites of Kiribati

Honorary Consulate-General of the Republic of Kiribati

Kiribati Statistics Office

Map of Kiribati

Map of West Pacific Islands

Map of Oceania and the Pacific Islands



Background:  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

Location:  Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean,
straddling the equator; the capital Tarawa is about one-half of the way
from Hawaii to Australia; note - on 1 January 1995, Kiribati proclaimed
that all of its territory lies in the same time zone as its Gilbert
Islands group (GMT +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line
Islands under its jurisdiction lie on the other side of the International
Date Line

Geographic coordinates:  1 25 N, 173 00 E

Map references:  Oceania

Area:  total: 811 sq km note: includes three island groups - Gilbert
Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands water: 0 sq km land: 811 sq km

Area - comparative:  four times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  1,143 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:  tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds

Terrain:  mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point:
unnamed location on Banaba 81 m

Natural resources:  phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)

Land use:  arable land: 51% permanent crops: 0% other: 49% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  NA sq km

Natural hazards:  typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to
March; occasional tornadoes; low level of some of the islands make them
very sensitive to changes in sea level

Environment - current issues:  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

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes,
Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: none
of the selected agreements

Geography - note:  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

Population:  96,335 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 40.2% (male 19,588; female 19,092) 15-64
years: 56.6% (male 26,905; female 27,625) 65 years and over: 3.2%
(male 1,339; female 1,786) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.28% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  31.58 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  8.76 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.75 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  52.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   63.62 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  4.32 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural) adjective: I-Kiribati

Ethnic groups:  predominantly Micronesian with some Polynesian

Religions:  Roman Catholic 52%, Protestant (Congregational) 40%, some
Seventh-Day Adventist, Muslim, Baha'i, Latter-day Saints, and Church of
God (1999)

Languages:  I-Kiribati, English (official)

Literacy:  definition: NA total population: NA% male: NA% female: NA%

Government Kiribati

Country name:   Republic of Kiribati conventional short form: Government
type:  republic

Capital:  Tarawa

Administrative divisions:  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)

Independence:  12 July 1979 (from UK)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 12 July (1979)

Constitution:  12 July 1979

Legal system:  NA

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Teburoro TITO (since 1
October 1994); Vice President Beniamina TIINGA (since NA December 2000);
note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
elections:  their members and then those candidates compete in a general
election; president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term;
election last held 27 November 1998 (next to be held by November 2002);
vice president appointed by the president election results: Teburoro TITO
reelected president; percent of vote - Teburoro TITO 52.3%, Dr. Harry
TONG 45.8%, Amberoti NIKORA 1.9%, Taberannang TIMEON 0% cabinet: 12-member
Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the House of
Parliament head of government: President Teburoro TITO (since 1 October
1994); Vice President Beniamina TIINGA (since NA December 2000); note -
the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Legislative branch:  unicameral House of Parliament or Maneaba Ni
Maungatabu (42 seats; 39 elected by popular vote, one ex officio member -
the attorney general, one appointed to represent Banaba, and one other;
members serve four-year terms) elections: last held 23 September 1998
(next to be held by October 2002) election results: percent of vote
by party - NA%; seats by party - Maneaban Te Mauri Party 14, National
Progressive Party 11, independents 14

Judicial branch:  Court of Appeal; High Court; 26 Magistrates' courts;
judges at all levels are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders:  Maneaban Te Mauri Party [Teburoro
TITO]; National Progressive Party [Teatao TEANNAKI] 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

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, FAO,
SPC, SPF, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:  Kiribati does not have an embassy
in the US; there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu

Diplomatic representation from the US:  the US does not have an embassy in
Kiribati; the ambassador to the Marshall Islands is accredited to Kiribati

Flag description:  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

Economy - overview:  A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls,
Kiribati has few national resources.  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. The financial sector is at an early stage of development
as is the expansion of private sector initiatives. Foreign financial
aid, from UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and China, is a critical
supplement to GDP, equal to 25%-50% of GDP in recent years.  Remittances
from workers abroad account for more than $5 million each year.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $79 million (2001 est.), supplemented
by a nearly equal amount from external sources

GDP - real growth rate:  1.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $840 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 30% industry: 7% services: 63%
(1998 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  7,870 economically active, not including subsistence farmers
(1985 est.)

Unemployment rate:  2%; underemployment 70% (1992 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $28.4 million expenditures: $37.2 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA million (2000 est.)

Industries:  fishing, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate:  0.7% (1991 est.)

Electricity - production:  7 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  6.51 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  copra, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes,
vegetables; fish

Exports:  $6 million (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports - commodities:  copra 62%, coconuts, seaweed, fish

Exports - partners:  Japan, Bangladesh, US, Australia, Brazil, Poland

Imports:  $44 million (c.i.f., 1999)

Imports - commodities:  foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous
manufactured goods, fuel

Imports - partners:  Australia, Japan, Fiji, Poland, US (2000)

Debt - external:  $10 million (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $15.5 million (1995), largely from UK and Japan

Currency:  Australian dollar (AUD)

Currency code:  AUD

Exchange rates:  Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.9354 (January 2002),
1.9320 (2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997)

Fiscal year:  NA

Communications Kiribati

Telephones - main lines in use:  3,800 (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA domestic: NA international:
satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) note: Kiribati is
being linked to the Pacific Ocean Cooperative Telecommunications Network,
which should improve telephone service

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 1, FM 1, shortwave 1 note: the FM and
shortwave stations may be inactive (2002)

Radios:  17,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (not reported to be active) (2002)

Televisions:  1,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .ki

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  1,000 (2000)

Transportation Kiribati

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 670 km paved: NA km unpaved: NA km note: 27 km are
paved in South Tarawa (2001)

Waterways:  5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands)

Ports and harbors:  Banaba, Betio, English Harbour, Kanton

Merchant marine:  total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,291
GRT/1,295 DWT ships by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  21 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 17 914 to 1,523 m: 13 under
914 m: 4 (2001)

Military Kiribati

Military branches:  no regular military forces; Police Force (carries
out law enforcement functions and paramilitary duties; small police
posts are on all islands)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Military - note:  Kiribati does not have military forces; defense
assistance is provided by Australia and NZ

Transnational Issues Kiribati

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

(Kiribati News
Kiribati Newstar

The CocoNET Wireless

Pacific Islands Report

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Polynesian Cultural Center: Kiribati

Business & Economy
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The Banabans

Jane's Kiribati Home Page


Kiribati and Christmas Island

Kiribati Images

South Pacific Tourism Organisation

University of the South Pacific

University of the South Pacific Libraries

ACIAR - Country: Kiribati

Banaban Environmental Issues relating to Phosphate Mining

Water Resource Conflicts in Tarawa


The Banaba History

Battle of Tarawa - The Battle for Betio


my Micronesia * kiribati

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