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Introduction - Kiribati:
BackgroundThe 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.
Location - Kiribati:
LocationOceania, 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 (UTC +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction lie on the other side of the International Date Line
Geographic coordinates1 25 N, 173 00 E
Map referencesOceania
Areatotal: 811 sq km
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands
Area comparativefour times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline1,143 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
Terrainmostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
Elevation extremeslowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Banaba 81 m
Natural resourcesphosphate (production discontinued in 1979)
Land usearable land: 2.74%
permanent crops: 47.95%
other: 49.31% (2005)
Irrigated landNA
Natural hazardstyphoons 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 issuesheavy 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 agreementsparty 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
Geography note21 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:
Population107,817 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 38.2% (male 20,886/female 20,322)
15-64 years: 58.4% (male 31,083/female 31,884)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 1,554/female 2,088) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 20.4 years
male: 19.9 years
female: 20.9 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate2.235% (2007 est.)
Birth rate30.48 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate8.12 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.028 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.975 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.744 male(s)/female
total population: 0.986 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 46.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 51.03 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 62.45 years
male: 59.41 years
female: 65.63 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate4.12 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rateNA
Hiv aids people living with hiv aidsNA
Hiv aids deathsNA
Nationalitynoun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
adjective: I-Kiribati
Ethnic groupsMicronesian 98.8%, other 1.2% (2000 census)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 52%, Protestant (Congregational) 40%, other (includes Seventh-Day Adventist, Muslim, Bahai, Latter-day Saints, Church of God) 8% (1999)
LanguagesI-Kiribati, English (official)
Literacydefinition: NA
total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA
Government - Kiribati:
Country nameconventional 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
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Tarawa
geographic coordinates: 1 19 N, 172 58 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions3 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)
Independence12 July 1979 (from UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 12 July (1979)
Constitution12 July 1979
Legal systemNA
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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 4 July 2003 (next to be held not later than July 2007); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Anote TONG 47.4%, Harry TONG 43.5%, Banuera BERINA 9.1%
Legislative branchunicameral House of Parliament or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (42 seats; 39 members elected by popular vote, 1 ex officio member - the attorney general, 1 appointed to represent Banaba, and 1 other; to serve four-year terms)
elections: legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first round on 9 May 2003 and the second round on 14 May 2003 (next to be held by November 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - BTK 17, MTM 16, independents 7, other 2 (includes attorney general)
Judicial branchCourt of Appeal; High Court; 26 Magistrates courts; judges at all levels are appointed by the president
Political parties and leadersBoutokaan 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
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
International organization participationACP, AsDB, 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
Diplomatic representation in the usKiribati does not have an embassy in the US; there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu
Diplomatic representation from the usthe US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati
Flag descriptionthe 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 overviewA remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural 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. Private sector initiatives and a financial sector are in the early stages of development. Foreign financial aid from UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and China equals more than 10% 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.
Gdp purchasing power parity $240 million (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $76.4 million (2005 est.)
Gdp real growth rate0.3% (2005)
Gdp per capita ppp $2,800 (2004 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 8.9%
industry: 24.2%
services: 66.8% (2004)
Labor force7,870 economically active, not including subsistence farmers (2001 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 2.7%
industry: 32%
services: 65.3% (2000)
Unemployment rate2% official rate; underemployment 70% (1992 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices 0.5% (2005 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $55.52 million
expenditures: $59.71 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (FY05)
Agriculture productscopra, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, vegetables; fish
Industriesfishing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate0.7% (1991 est.)
Electricity production13 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption12.09 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption200 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance-$19.87 million (2004)
Exports$17 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports commoditiescopra 62%, coconuts, seaweed, fish
Exports partnersUS 22.8%, Belgium 21.5%, Japan 14.3%, Samoa 7.8%, Australia 7.5%, Malaysia 6.7%, Taiwan 5.6%, Denmark 4.6% (2006)
Imports$62 million c.i.f. (2004 est.)
Imports commoditiesfoodstuffs, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
Imports partnersAustralia 33%, Fiji 27.1%, Japan 18.1%, NZ 6.9% (2006)
Debt external$10 million (1999 est.)
Economic aid recipient$16.7 million largely from UK and Japan (2004)
Currency code Australian dollar (AUD)
Exchange ratesAustralian dollars per US dollar - 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004), 1.5419 (2003), 1.8406 (2002)
Communications - Kiribati:
Fiscal yearNA
Telephones main lines in use4,500 (2002)
Telephones mobile cellular600 (2004)
Telephone systemgeneral 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)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (may be inactive) (2002)
Television broadcast stations1 (possibly inactive) (2002)
Internet country
Internet hosts42 (2006)
Internet users2,000 (2006)
Transportation - Kiribati:
Airports19 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 4 (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 670 km (1999)
Waterways5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2007)
Merchant marinetotal: 2 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,749 GRT/3,911 DWT
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 1
foreign-owned: 1 (UAE 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsBetio
Military - Kiribati:
Military branchesno regular military forces; Police Force (carries out law enforcement functions and paramilitary duties; small police posts are on all islands) (2007)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 21,938 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 14,231 (2005 est.)
Military noteKiribati does not have military forces; defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 1,128 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdpNA
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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