Kiribati - Economic Indicators

Economic Overview

A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Island countries. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income, however, remittances and the number of seafarers employed declined in the global crisis, but has since improved. Fishing license revenues remain a main source of income for the Kiribati government. Economic development is constrained...

Continue reading View Factbook for Kiribati

GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Investment 1992 26,000,000 27,950,000 NCU Annual
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 1992 25,750,000 27,700,000 NCU Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Imports of Goods and Services 2016 233,500,000 232,900,000 NCU Annual
Exports of Goods and Services 2016 27,100,000 22,100,000 NCU Annual
Exports of Goods 2016 Q4 4,399,566 2,583,746 USD, NSA Quarterly
Imports of Goods 2016 Q4 29,780,045 29,635,159 USD, NSA Quarterly
Current Account Balance 2016 Q4 27,791,811 6,956,312 USD, NSA Quarterly
Balance of Goods 2016 Q4 -25,380,478 -27,051,412 USD, NSA Quarterly
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2010 20,409,924 2010 USD Annual
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2010 122,459,548 2010 USD Annual
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Population 2050 139,738 139,126 Person, NSA Annual
Birth Rate 2016 28.22 28.55 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Death Rate 2016 6.99 7.01 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Net Migration 2012 -2,130 # Annual

Factbook

Background

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.

Geography

Location:
Oceania, group of 33 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about halfway between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates:
1 25 N, 173 00 E
Map references:
Oceania
Area:
total: 811 sq km
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, and Phoenix Islands - dispersed over about 3.5 million sq km (1.35 million sq mi)
country comparison to the world: 187
Area - comparative:
four times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
1,143 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds
Terrain:
mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
Elevation:
mean elevation: 2 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation on Banaba 81 m
Natural resources:
phosphate (production discontinued in 1979), coconuts (copra), fish
Land use:
agricultural land: 42%
arable land 2.5%; permanent crops 39.5%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 15%
other: 43% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
0 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
consists of three achipelagos spread out over an area roughly the size of India; the eastern Line Islands and central Phoenix Islands are sparsely populated, but the western Gilbert Islands are some of the most densely settled places on earth, with the main island of South Tarawa boasting a population density similar to Tokyo or Hong Kong
Natural hazards:
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
Environment - current issues:
heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to overcrowding mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk; potential for water shortages, disease; coastal erosion
Environment - international agreements:
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
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; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)

People & Society

Population:
108,145 (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
Nationality:
noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
adjective: I-Kiribati
Ethnic groups:
I-Kiribati 96.2%, I-Kiribati/mixed 1.8%, Tuvaluan 0.2%, other 1.8% (2015 est.)
Languages:
I-Kiribati, English (official)
Religions:
Roman Catholic 57.3%, Kiribati Uniting Church 31.3%, Mormon 5.3%, Baha'i 2.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.9%, other 2.1% (2015 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29.68% (male 16,360/female 15,734)
15-24 years: 21.07% (male 11,282/female 11,503)
25-54 years: 38.98% (male 20,300/female 21,860)
55-64 years: 6.04% (male 2,942/female 3,590)
65 years and over: 4.23% (male 1,802/female 2,772) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 63
youth dependency ratio: 57
elderly dependency ratio: 6
potential support ratio: 16.6 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 24.6 years
male: 23.8 years
female: 25.5 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
Population growth rate:
1.13% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
Birth rate:
21.2 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
Death rate:
7 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
Net migration rate:
-2.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
Population distribution:
consists of three achipelagos spread out over an area roughly the size of India; the eastern Line Islands and central Phoenix Islands are sparsely populated, but the western Gilbert Islands are some of the most densely settled places on earth, with the main island of South Tarawa boasting a population density similar to Tokyo or Hong Kong
Urbanization:
urban population: 44.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 1.9% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
TARAWA (capital) 46,000 (2014)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.82 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth:
23.1 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
Maternal mortality ratio:
90 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
Infant mortality rate:
total: 32.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 33.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 30.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.5 years
male: 64 years
female: 69.1 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
Total fertility rate:
2.39 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
22.3% (2009)
Health expenditures:
10.2% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 24
Physicians density:
0.2 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density:
1.9 beds/1,000 population (2015)
Drinking water source:
improved:
urban: 87.3% of population
rural: 50.6% of population
total: 66.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 12.7% of population
rural: 49.4% of population
total: 33.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved:
urban: 51.2% of population
rural: 30.6% of population
total: 39.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 48.8% of population
rural: 69.4% of population
total: 60.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
46% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 9
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
14.9% (2009)
country comparison to the world: 48
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2008)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 54%
male: 47.6%
female: 61.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5

Government

Country name:
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
etymology: the name is the local pronounciation of "Gilberts," the former designation of the islands; originally named after explorer Thomas GILBERT, who mapped many of the islands in 1788
Government type:
presidential republic
Capital:
name: Tarawa
geographic coordinates: 1 21 N, 173 02 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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 are on the other side of the International Date Line
Administrative divisions:
3 geographical units: Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands; note - there are no first-order administrative divisions, but 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 the UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 12 July (1979)
Constitution:
history: The Gilbert and Ellice Islands Order in Council 1915, The Gilbert Islands Order in Council 1975 (preindependence); latest promulgated 12 July 1979 (at independence)
amendments: proposed by the House of Assembly; passage requires two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly membership; passage of amendments affecting the constitutional section on amendment procedures and parts of the constitutional chapter on citizenship requires deferral of the proposal to the next Assembly meeting where approval is required by at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly membership and support of the nominated or elected Banaban member of the Assembly; amendments affecting the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms also requires approval by at least two-thirds majority in a referendum; amended 1995, 2013 (2017)
Legal system:
English common law supplemented by customary law
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a native-born citizen of Kiribati
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Kourabi NENEM (since 17 March 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Kourabi NENEM (since 17 March 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among House of Assembly members
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote following nomination of candidates from among House of Assembly members; term is 4 years (eligible for 2 additional terms); election last held on 9 March 2016 (next to be held in 2020); vice president appointed by the president
election results: Taneti MAAMAU elected president; percent of vote - Taneti MAAMAU 60%, Rimeta BENIAMINA (BTK) 38.6%, Taneti IOANE (BTK) 1.4%
Legislative branch:
description: unicameral House of Assembly or Maneaba Ni Maungatabu (46 seats; 44 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two-rounds if needed; 1 member appointed by the Rabi Council of Leaders - representing Banaba Island, and 1 ex officio member - the attorney general; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first on 30 December 2015 and the second on 7 January 2016 (next to be held in 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - BTK 26, KTK and MKP 19, , other 2 (includes attorney general)
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): High Court (consists of a chief justice and other judges as prescribed by the president); note - the High Court has jurisdiction on constitutional issues
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president on the advice of the cabinet in consultation with the Public Service Commission (PSC); other judges appointed by the president on the advice of the chief justice along with the PSC
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; magistrates' courts
Political parties and leaders:
Boutokaan Te Koaua Party or BTK, or Pillars of Truth [Anote TONG]
Kamaeuraoan Te I-Kiribati Party or KTK [Tetaua TAITAI]
Maurin Kiribati Pati or MKP [Rimeta BENIAMINA]
Tobwaan Kiribati Party or TKP [Taneti MAAMAU]
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
International organization participation:
ABEDA, ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IOC, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none; the Kiribati Permanent Mission to the UN serves as the Embassy; it is headed by Teburoro TITO (since 13 September 2017); address: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400A, New York, NY 10017; telephone: [1](212)867-3310; FAX: [1](212)867-3320
note: honorary consulate in Honolulu
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati
Flag description:
the upper half is red with a yellow frigatebird flying over a yellow rising sun, and the lower half is blue with three horizontal wavy white stripes to represent the Pacific ocean; the white stripes represent the three island groups - the Gilbert, Line, and Phoenix Islands; the 17 rays of the sun represent the 16 Gilbert Islands and Banaba (formerly Ocean Island); the frigatebird symbolizes authority and freedom
National symbol(s):
frigatebird; national colors: red, white, blue, yellow
National anthem:
name: "Teirake kaini Kiribati" (Stand Up, Kiribati)
lyrics/music: Urium Tamuera IOTEBA
note: adopted 1979

Economy

Economy - overview:
A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Island countries. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income, however, remittances and the number of seafarers employed declined in the global crisis, but has since improved. Fishing license revenues remain a main source of income for the Kiribati government.
Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. The public sector dominates economic activity, with ongoing capital projects in infrastructure including road rehabilitation, water and sanitation projects, and renovations to the international airport, spurring some growth. Public debt increased from 23% of GDP at the end of 2015 to 25.8% in 2016.
Kiribati is dependent on foreign aid, which was estimated to have contributed over 43% in 2013 to the government’s finances. The country’s sovereign fund, the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund (RERF), which is held offshore, had an estimated balance of $855.5 million in late July 2016. The RERF seeks to avoid exchange rate risk by holding investments in more than 20 currencies, including the Australian dollar, US dollar, the Japanese yen, and the Euro. Drawdowns from the RERF helped finance the government’s annual budget.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$224 million (2017 est.)
$218 million (2016 est.)
$209.2 million (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 219
GDP (official exchange rate):
$186 million (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.8% (2017 est.)
4.2% (2016 est.)
7.5% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,900 (2017 est.)
$1,900 (2016 est.)
$1,900 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 209
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 26.3%
industry: 9.2%
services: 64.5% (2013 est.)
Agriculture - products:
copra, breadfruit, fish
Industries:
fishing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate:
1.1% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Labor force:
39,000
note: economically active, not including subsistence farmers (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 15%
industry: 10%
services: 75% (2010 est.)
Unemployment rate:
30.6% (2010 est.)
6.1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget:
revenues: $197.9 million
expenditures: $179.9 million (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
106.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
9.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Public debt:
26.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
Fiscal year:
NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.2% (2017 est.)
1.9% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA
Current account balance:
$-9 million (2017 est.)
$27 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
Exports:
$84.75 million (2013 est.)
$62.31 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
Exports - commodities:
fish, coconut products
Exports - partners:
Morocco 19.8%, Fiji 17.3%, Philippines 10.2%, US 10.1%, Vietnam 7.9%, Australia 4.2% (2016)
Imports:
$182.2 million (2013 est.)
$172.5 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
Imports - commodities:
food, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
Imports - partners:
Australia 22.9%, NZ 20.9%, Fiji 14.1%, Singapore 10.5%, Japan 8.1%, China 6.9% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$7.479 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$8.37 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
Debt - external:
$13.6 million (2013 est.)
$14.1 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$NA
Exchange rates:
Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.31 (2017 est.)
1.34 (2016 est.)
1.34 (2015 est.)
1.33 (2014 est.)
1.11 (2013 est.)
note:: the Australian dollar circulates as legal tender

Energy

Electricity access:
population without electricity: 43,839
electrification - total population: 59%
electrification - urban areas: 77%
electrification - rural areas: 45% (2012)
Electricity - production:
24 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
Electricity - consumption:
22.32 million kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
8,000 kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
62.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
37.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
400 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
Refined petroleum products - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
Refined petroleum products - imports:
509.6 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
58,450 Mt (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 657
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 216
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 52,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally good quality national and international service
domestic: wireline service available on Tarawa and Kiritimati (Christmas Island); connections to outer islands by HF/VHF radiotelephone; recently formed Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Kiribati Limited is implementing the first phase of improvements with 3G and 4G upgrades on some islands
international: country code - 686; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean) (2016)
Broadcast media:
multi-channel TV packages provide access to Australian and US stations; 1 government-operated radio station broadcasts on AM, FM, and shortwave (2017)
Internet country code:
.ki
Internet users:
total: 14,649
percent of population: 13.7% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210

Transportation

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
T3 (2016)
Airports:
19 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 138
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Roadways:
total: 670 km (2017)
country comparison to the world: 192
Waterways:
5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2012)
country comparison to the world: 107
Merchant marine:
total: 133
by type: bulk carrier 5, general cargo 51, oil tanker 22, other 55 (2017)
country comparison to the world: 77
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Betio (Tarawa Atoll), Canton Island, English Harbor

Military & Security

Military branches:
no regular military forces (establishment prevented by the constitution); Police Force (2011)
Military - note:
Kiribati does not have military forces; defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
none

Economic Indicators for Kiribati including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the Kiribati economy.