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Australia-Oceania :: Kiribati
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  • 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
    1 25 N, 173 00 E
    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)
    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 elevation on Banaba 81 m
    phosphate (production discontinued in 1979), coconuts (copra), fish
    agricultural land: 42%
    arable land 2.5%; permanent crops 39.5%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 15%
    other: 43% (2011 est.)
    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; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)
  • People and Society :: KIRIBATI

  • noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
    adjective: I-Kiribati
    I-Kiribati 89.5%, I-Kiribati/mixed 9.7%, Tuvaluan 0.1%, other 0.8% (2010 est.)
    I-Kiribati, English (official)
    Roman Catholic 55.8%, Kempsville Presbyterian Church 33.5%, Mormon 4.7%, Baha'i 2.3%, Seventh Day Adventist 2%, other 1.5%, none 0.2%, unspecified 0.05% (2010 est.)
    104,488 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 31.5% (male 16,779/female 16,151)
    15-24 years: 21.3% (male 11,099/female 11,122)
    25-54 years: 37.8% (male 18,978/female 20,477)
    55-64 years: 5.5% (male 2,605/female 3,137)
    65 years and over: 4% (male 1,630/female 2,510) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 55.3%
    youth dependency ratio: 48.7%
    elderly dependency ratio: 6.6%
    potential support ratio: 15.2% (2014 est.)
    total: 23.6 years
    male: 22.7 years
    female: 24.4 years (2014 est.)
    1.18% (2014 est.)
    21.85 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    7.18 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -2.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 44.2% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    TARAWA (capital) 46,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
    130 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 35.37 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 36.59 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 34.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 65.47 years
    male: 63.03 years
    female: 68.02 years (2014 est.)
    2.56 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    22.3% (2009)
    10.1% of GDP (2013)
    0.38 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    1.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    urban: 87.4% of population
    rural: 50.6% of population
    total: 66.8% of population
    urban: 12.6% of population
    rural: 49.4% of population
    total: 33.2% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 51.2% of population
    rural: 30.6% of population
    total: 39.7% of population
    urban: 48.8% of population
    rural: 69.4% of population
    total: 60.3% of population (2012 est.)
    40.1% (2014)
    14.9% (2009)
    total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 13 years (2008)
  • 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
    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 were on the other side of the International Date Line
    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)
    12 July 1979 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 12 July (1979)
    preindependence - The Gilbert and Ellice Islands Order in Council 1915, The Gilbert Islands Order in Council 1975; latest promulgated 12 July 1979 (at independence); amended 1995 (2013)
    English common law supplemented by customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President Teima ONORIO; note - the president is both 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 nominates the presidential candidates from among its members following parliamentary elections and then those candidates compete in a general election; president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for two more terms); election last held on 13 January 2012 (next to be held in 2015); vice president appointed by the president
    election results: Anote TONG 42.2%, Tetaua TAITAI 35%, Rimeta BENIAMINA 22.8%
    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, 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 21 October 2011 and the second on 28 October 2011 (next to be held in 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA, other 2 (includes attorney general)
    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
    Boutokaan Te Koaua Party or BTK [Anote TONG]
    Kamaeuraoan Te I-Kiribati Party or KTK [Tetaua TAITAI]
    Maurin Kiribati Pati or MKP [Rimeta BENIAMINA]
    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
    none; the Kiribati Permanent Mission to the UN serves as the Embassy; it is headed by Makurita BAARO (since 21 May 2014); address: 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400A, New York, NY 10017; telephone: [1](212)867-3310; FAX: [1](212)867-3320
    note: there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu
    the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the US ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Kiribati
    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
    frigatebird; national colors: red, white, blue, yellow
    name: "Teirake kaini Kiribati" (Stand Up, Kiribati)
    lyrics/music: Urium Tamuera IOTEBA
    note: adopted 1979
  • 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 United Kingdom in 1979. 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 the road rehabilitation, water and sanitation projects, and renovations to the international airport, spurring some growth. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income. In 2013, the International Monetary Fund estimated that fishing licenses revenues contributed close to half of government’s total revenue and total remittances from seafarers were equivalent to 6% of GDP. However, remittances and the number of seafarers employed have declined since the global crisis. 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 $668 million in 2013, equivalent to 381% of GDP. The RERF seeks to avoid exchange rate risk by holding investments in more than 20 currencies, including the Australian dollar, United States dollar, the Japanese yen and the Euro. Drawdowns from the RERF helped finance the government’s annual budget.
    $180 million (2014 est.)
    $174.8 million (2013 est.)
    $169.9 million (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $164 million (2014 est.)
    3% (2014 est.)
    2.9% (2013 est.)
    2.8% (2012 est.)
    $1,600 (2014 est.)
    $1,600 (2013 est.)
    $1,600 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 214
    agriculture: 26.3%
    industry: 9.2%
    services: 64.5% (2012 est.)
    copra, breadfruit, fish
    fishing, handicrafts
    1.1% (2012 est.)
    note: economically active, not including subsistence farmers (2010 est.)
    agriculture: 15%
    industry: 10%
    services: 75% (2010)
    30.6% (2010 est.)
    6.1% (2005)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $197.9 million
    expenditures: $179.9 million (2013 est.)
    120.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
    11% of GDP (2013 est.)
    8.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
    8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    2.5% (2014 est.)
    0.8% (2013 est.)
    $17.7 million (2013 est.)
    $-11.7 million (2012 est.)
    $84.75 million (2013 est.)
    $62.31 million (2012 est.)
    fish, coconut products
    $182.2 million (2013 est.)
    $172.5 million (2012 est.)
    food, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
    $8.37 million (31 December 2010 est.)
    $13.6 million (2013 est.)
    $14.1 million (2012 est.)
    Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
    1.1 (2013)
    0.97 (2013 est.)
    0.97 (2012 est.)
    0.97 (2011 est.)
    1.09 (2010 est.)
    note:: the Australian dollar circulates as legal tender
  • Energy :: KIRIBATI

  • 25 million kWh (2011 est.)
    23.25 million kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    5,000 kW (2011 est.)
    100% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    440 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    420.2 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    58,450 Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: KIRIBATI

  • 9,000 (2012)
    16,000 (2012)
    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) (2010)
    1 TV broadcast station that provides about 1 hour of local programming Monday-Friday; multi-channel TV packages provide access to Australian and US stations; 1 government-operated radio station broadcasts on AM, FM, and shortwave (2009)
    AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 1 (may be inactive) (2002)
    1 (possibly inactive) (2002)
    327 (2012)
    7,800 (2009)
  • Transportation :: KIRIBATI

  • 19 (2013)
    total: 4
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2013)
    total: 15
    914 to 1,523 m: 10
    under 914 m:
    5 (2013)
    total: 670 km (2011)
    5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2012)
    total: 77
    by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 35, chemical tanker 6, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 15
    foreign-owned: 43 (China 26, Hong Kong 2, Russia 1, Singapore 9, South Korea 1, Taiwan 2, Vietnam 2) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Betio (Tarawa Atoll), Canton Island, English Harbor
  • Military :: KIRIBATI

  • no regular military forces (establishment prevented by the constitution); Police Force (2011)
    males age 16-49: 25,190 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 18,364
    females age 16-49: 20,302 (2010 est.)
    male: 1,132
    female: 1,120 (2010 est.)
    Kiribati does not have military forces; defense assistance is provided by Australia and NZ
  • Transnational Issues :: KIRIBATI

  • none