Photos of Brunei

The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in the water village of Kampong Ayer is a major landmark and tourist attraction in Brunei. Built in 1958, the structure is a mixture of Mughal and Italian architectural styles. Built on an artificial lagoon, the mosque is surrounded by lush gardens, fountains, and trees. Its most recognizable feature is the main dome covered in pure gold. The marble minaret, 52 m (171 ft) tall, affords a panoramic view of the capital city.  The mosque, named after the late 28th Sultan of Brunei, can accommodate 3,000 worshipers.

Introduction

Background

The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries, when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy subsequently brought on a period of decline. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries, and in 2017, the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sultan Hassanal BOLKIAH’s accession to the throne. Brunei has one of the highest per-capita GDPs in the world, thanks to extensive petroleum and natural gas fields.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Asia, along the northern coast of the island of Borneo, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia

Geographic coordinates

4 30 N, 114 40 E

Map references

Southeast Asia

Area

total: 5,765 sq km

land: 5,265 sq km

water: 500 sq km

comparison ranking: total 172

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Delaware

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 266 km

border countries (1): Malaysia 266 km

Coastline

161 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or to median line

Climate

tropical; hot, humid, rainy

Terrain

flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west

Elevation

highest point: Bukit Pagon 1,850 m

lowest point: South China Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 478 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, timber

Land use

agricultural land: 2.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 71.8% (2018 est.)

other: 25.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

10 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the vast majority of the population is found along the coast in the western part of Brunei, which is separated from the eastern portion by Malaysia; the largest population concentration is in the far north on the western side of the Brunei Bay, in and around the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan

Natural hazards

typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are rare

Geography - note

close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; the eastern part, the Temburong district, is an exclave and is almost an enclave within Malaysia

People and Society

Population

total: 491,900

male: 239,140

female: 252,760 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 173; male 173; total 173

Nationality

noun: Bruneian(s)

adjective: Bruneian

Ethnic groups

Malay 67.4%, Chinese 9.6%, other 23% (2021 est.)

Languages

Malay (Bahasa Melayu) (official), English, Chinese dialects

major-language sample(s):
Buku Fakta Dunia, sumber yang diperlukan untuk maklumat asas. (Malay)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Malay audio sample:

Religions

Muslim (official) 82.1%, Christian 6.7%, Buddhist 6.3%, other 4.9% (2021 est.)

Demographic profile

Brunei is a small, oil-rich sultanate of less than half a million people, making it the smallest country in Southeast Asia by population.  Its total fertility rate – the average number of births per woman – has been steadily declining over the last few decades, from over 3.5 in the 1980s to below replacement level today at nearly 1.8.  The trend is due to women’s increased years of education and participation in the workforce, which have resulted in later marriages and fewer children.  Yet, the population continues to grow because of the large number of women of reproductive age and a reliance on foreign labor – mainly from Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and South Asian countries – to fill low-skilled jobs.

Brunei is officially Muslim, and Malay is the official language.  The country follows an official Malay national ideology, Malay Islamic Monarchy, which promotes Malay language and culture, Islamic values, and the monarchy.  Only seven of Brunei’s native groups are recognized in the constitution and are defined as “Malay” – Brunei Malays, Belait, Kedayan, Dusun, Bisayak, Lun Bawang, and Sama-Baiau.  Together they make up about 66% percent of the population and are referred to as the Bumiputera.  The Bumiputera are entitled to official privileges, including land ownership, access to certain types of employment (Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Brunei Shell Petroleum), easier access to higher education, and better job opportunities in the civil service. 

Brunei’s Chinese population descends from migrants who arrived when Brunei was a British protectorate (1888 and 1984).  They are prominent in the non-state commercial sector and account for approximately 10% of the population.  Most Bruneian Chinese are permanent residents rather than citizens despite roots going back several generations.  Many are stateless and are denied rights granted to citizens, such as land ownership, subsidized health care, and free secondary and university education.  Because of the discriminatory policies, the number of Chinese in Brunei has shrunk considerably in the last 50 years.  Native ethnic groups that are not included in the Bumiputera are not recognized in the constitution and are not officially identified as “Malay” or automatically granted citizenship.  Foreign workers constitute some quarter of the labor force.

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.7% (male 54,924/female 51,710)

15-64 years: 70.8% (male 166,289/female 182,011)

65 years and over: 7.5% (2024 est.) (male 17,927/female 19,039)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 39.2

youth dependency ratio: 31.1

elderly dependency ratio: 8.1

potential support ratio: 12.4 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 32.3 years (2024 est.)

male: 31.4 years

female: 33.1 years

comparison ranking: total 117

Population growth rate

1.4% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 71

Birth rate

15.8 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 101

Death rate

3.9 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 218

Net migration rate

2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 48

Population distribution

the vast majority of the population is found along the coast in the western part of Brunei, which is separated from the eastern portion by Malaysia; the largest population concentration is in the far north on the western side of the Brunei Bay, in and around the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan

Urbanization

urban population: 79.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.44% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

266,682 BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (capital) (2021)

note: the boundaries of the capital city were expanded in 2007, greatly increasing the city area; the population of the capital increased tenfold

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

44 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 99

Infant mortality rate

total: 10 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 12.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 132

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 76.5 years

female: 81.3 years

comparison ranking: total population 71

Total fertility rate

1.73 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 153

Gross reproduction rate

0.85 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.7% of population

rural: NA

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.4% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2020)

Current health expenditure

2.4% of GDP (2020)

Physician density

1.61 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: NA

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

14.1% (2016)

comparison ranking: 129

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.69 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.66 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 157

Tobacco use

total: 16.2% (2020 est.)

male: 30% (2020 est.)

female: 2.3% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 100

Education expenditures

4.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97.6%

male: 98.3%

female: 96.9% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2020)

Environment

Environment - current issues

no major environmental problems, but air pollution control is becoming a concern; seasonal trans-boundary haze from forest fires in Indonesia

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

tropical; hot, humid, rainy

Land use

agricultural land: 2.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 71.8% (2018 est.)

other: 25.7% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 79.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.44% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.05% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 129

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 106

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 6.86 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 7.66 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 8.4 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 216,253 tons (2016 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 150 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

8.5 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Brunei Darussalam

conventional short form: Brunei

local long form: Negara Brunei Darussalam

local short form: Brunei

etymology: derivation of the name is unclear; according to legend, MUHAMMAD SHAH, who would become the first sultan of Brunei, upon discovering what would become Brunei exclaimed "Baru nah," which roughly translates as "there" or "that's it"

Government type

absolute monarchy or sultanate

Capital

name: Bandar Seri Begawan

geographic coordinates: 4 53 N, 114 56 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named in 1970 after Sultan Omar Ali SAIFUDDIEN III (1914-1986; "The Father of Independence") who adopted the title of "Seri Begawan" (approximate meaning "honored lord") upon his abdication in 1967; "bandar" in Malay means "town" or "city"; the capital had previously been called Bandar Brunei (Brunei Town)

Administrative divisions

4 districts (daerah-daerah, singular - daerah); Belait, Brunei dan Muara, Temburong, Tutong

Independence

1 January 1984 (from the UK)

National holiday

National Day, 23 February (1984); note - 1 January 1984 was the date of independence from the UK, 23 February 1984 was the date of independence from British protection; the Sultan's birthday, 15 June

Constitution

history: drafted 1954 to 1959, signed 29 September 1959; note - some constitutional provisions suspended since 1962 under a State of Emergency, others suspended since independence in 1984

amendments: proposed by the monarch; passage requires submission to the Privy Council for Legislative Council review and finalization takes place by proclamation; the monarch can accept or reject changes to the original proposal provided by the Legislative Council; amended several times, last in 2010

Legal system

mixed legal system based on English common law and Islamic law; note - in April 2019, the full sharia penal codes came into force and apply to Muslims and partly to non-Muslims in parallel with present common law codes

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICC

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Brunei

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 12 years

Suffrage

18 years of age for village elections; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967)

head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed and presided over by the monarch; note - 4 additional advisory councils appointed by the monarch are the Religious Council, Privy Council for constitutional issues, Council of Succession, and Legislative Council; Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah is also Minister of Finance, Defense, and Foreign Affairs and Trade

elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary

note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Council or Majlis Mesyuarat Negara Brunei (33 seats; 20 members appointed by the sultan from ex-officio cabinet ministers, titled people, and prominent citizens in public service and various professional fields, 13 members from 4 multi-seat constituencies, and 3 ex-officio members - the speaker and first and second secretaries); members serve 5-year terms

elections: January 2023 - appointed by the sultan

election results: Legislative Council last appointed January 2023; composition - men 30, women 4, percentage women 11.8%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, each with a chief justice and 2 judges); Sharia Court (consists the Court of Appeals and the High Court); note - Brunei has a dual judicial system of secular and sharia (religious) courts; the Judicial Committee of Privy Council (in London) serves as the final appellate court for civil cases only

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch to serve until age 65, and older if approved by the monarch; Sharia Court judges appointed by the monarch for life

subordinate courts: Intermediate Court; Magistrates' Courts; Juvenile Court; small claims courts; lower sharia courts

Political parties and leaders

National Development Party or NDP [Zainal Talib]

note: the NDP is Brunei’s only registered party, but does not have representation in the Legislative Council, which is appointed

International organization participation

ADB, APEC, ARF, ASEAN, C, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Dato Paduka Haji SERBINI bin Haji Ali (since 28 January 2016)

chancery: 3520 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 237-1838

FAX: [1] (202) 885-0560

email address and website:
info@bruneiembassy.org

http://www.bruneiembassy.org/index.html

consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Caryn R. McCLELLAND (since December 2021)

embassy: Simpang 336-52-16-9, Jalan Duta, Bandar Seri Begawan, BC4115

mailing address: 4020 Bandar Seri Begawan Place, Washington DC  20521-4020

telephone: (673) 238-7400

FAX: (673) 238-7533

email address and website:
ConsularBrunei@state.gov

https://bn.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

yellow with two diagonal bands of white (top, almost double width) and black starting from the upper hoist side; the national emblem in red is superimposed at the center; yellow is the color of royalty and symbolizes the sultanate; the white and black bands denote Brunei's chief ministers; the emblem includes five main components: a swallow-tailed flag, the royal umbrella representing the monarchy, the wings of four feathers symbolizing justice, tranquility, prosperity, and peace, the two upraised hands signifying the government's pledge to preserve and promote the welfare of the people, and the crescent moon denoting Islam, the state religion; the state motto "Always render service with God's guidance" appears in yellow Arabic script on the crescent; a ribbon below the crescent reads "Brunei, the Abode of Peace"

National symbol(s)

royal parasol; national colors: yellow, white, black

National anthem

name: "Allah Peliharakan Sultan" (God Bless His Majesty)

lyrics/music: Pengiran Haji Mohamed YUSUF bin Pengiran Abdul Rahim/Awang Haji BESAR bin Sagap

note: adopted 1951

Economy

Economic overview

almost exclusively an oil and gas economy; high income country; expansive and robust welfare system; the majority of the population works for the government; promulgating a nationalized halal brand; considering establishment of a bond market and stock exchange

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$26.343 billion (2022 est.)
$26.779 billion (2021 est.)
$27.212 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 146

Real GDP growth rate

-1.63% (2022 est.)
-1.59% (2021 est.)
1.13% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 202

Real GDP per capita

$58,700 (2022 est.)
$60,100 (2021 est.)
$61,600 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 19

GDP (official exchange rate)

$16.682 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.68% (2022 est.)
1.73% (2021 est.)
1.94% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 52

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 56.6% (2017 est.)

services: 42.3% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 204; industry 5; agriculture 193

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 25% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 24.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 32.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 8.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 45.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -36.8% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

chicken, eggs, fruits, rice, vegetables, beans, bananas, beef, pineapples, cucumbers/gherkins (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

petroleum, petroleum refining, liquefied natural gas, construction, agriculture, aquaculture, transportation

Industrial production growth rate

-4.91% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 202

Labor force

225,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 177

Unemployment rate

4.45% (2022 est.)
4.91% (2021 est.)
7.41% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 91

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 23.4% (2021 est.)

male: 20.7%

female: 27.6%

comparison ranking: total 68

Remittances

0.01% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.01% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.01% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $1.058 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $3.189 billion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-17.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 218

Public debt

2.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
3% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 207

Taxes and other revenues

18.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 99

Current account balance

$3.264 billion (2022 est.)
$1.57 billion (2021 est.)
$513.713 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 38

Exports

$14.411 billion (2022 est.)
$11.202 billion (2021 est.)
$6.886 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 99

Exports - partners

Australia 19%, Japan 17%, China 16%, Singapore 14%, Malaysia 10% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, natural gas, crude petroleum, hydrocarbons, fertilizers (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$10.106 billion (2022 est.)
$9.219 billion (2021 est.)
$6.382 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 122

Imports - partners

Malaysia 22%, UAE 11%, China 10%, Singapore 7%, Qatar 6% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, refined petroleum, cars, coal, gas turbines (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$5.035 billion (2022 est.)
$4.982 billion (2021 est.)
$3.997 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 102

Debt - external

$0 (2014)
$0 (2013)

note: public external debt only; private external debt unavailable

comparison ranking: 206

Exchange rates

Bruneian dollars (BND) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
1.379 (2022 est.)
1.344 (2021 est.)
1.38 (2020 est.)
1.364 (2019 est.)
1.349 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2022 est.)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 1.265 million kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 5.24 billion kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 513 million kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 80; consumption 130; installed generating capacity 130

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Coal

consumption: 1.203 million metric tons (2022 est.)

imports: 1.203 million metric tons (2022 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 95,000 bbl/day (2023 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 17,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 1.1 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 10.598 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

consumption: 4.374 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

exports: 6.12 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

proven reserves: 260.515 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

12.172 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 1.419 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 2.197 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 8.557 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 103

Energy consumption per capita

466.111 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 5

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 122,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 27 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 130

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 529,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 118 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 173

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Brunei’s mobile market experienced drop-off in subscriber numbers in 2020; in 2022 there was a concerted effort to build out the fixed-line infrastructure while progressing towards introducing 5G mobile services, which was activated in June 2023; Brunei’s fixed-line market is one of the few countries in the world to have displayed significant growth rather than a decline in teledensity in the last few years; this upward trend is set to continue as the new Unified National Network (UNN) works diligently to expand and enhance the fixed-line infrastructure around the country; strong growth was also seen in the fixed broadband space, on the back of those same infrastructure developments that are part of the Brunei Vision 2035 initiative; fixed broadband is starting from a relatively low base by international standards and is still only at 18%, leaving lots of room for growth; mobile and mobile broadband, on the other hand, are still suffering from the market contractions first felt in 2020; Brunei’s 2G GSM network is shut down, with the spectrum to be reallocated to 3G, 4G, and potentially 5G use (2023)

domestic: 25 per 100 fixed-line, 136 per 100 mobile-cellular (2021)

international: country code - 673; landing points for the SEA-ME-WE-3, SJC, AAG, Lubuan-Brunei Submarine Cable via optical telecommunications submarine cables that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

state-controlled Radio Television Brunei (RTB) operates 5 channels; 3 Malaysian TV stations are available; foreign TV broadcasts are available via satellite systems; RTB operates 5 radio networks and broadcasts on multiple frequencies; British Forces Broadcast Service (BFBS) provides radio broadcasts on 2 FM stations; some radio broadcast stations from Malaysia are available via repeaters

Internet users

total: 441,000 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 98% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 170

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 71,078 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 134

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 10

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,234,455 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 129.35 million (2018) mt-km

Airports

2 (2024)

comparison ranking: 200

Heliports

14 (2024)

Pipelines

33 km condensate, 86 km condensate/gas, 628 km gas, 492 km oil (2013)

Roadways

total: 2,976 km

paved: 2,559 km

unpaved: 417 km (2014)

comparison ranking: total 163

Waterways

209 km (2012) (navigable by craft drawing less than 1.2 m; the Belait, Brunei, and Tutong Rivers are major transport links)

comparison ranking: 106

Merchant marine

total: 97 (2023)

by type: general cargo 18, oil tanker 2, other 77

comparison ranking: total 90

Ports

total ports: 5 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 0

small: 2

very small: 3

ports with oil terminals: 5

key ports: Bandar Seri Begawan, Kuala Belait, Lumut, Muara Harbor, Seria Oil Loading Terminal

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Royal Brunei Armed Forces: Land Force, Navy, Air Force, Joint Force

Ministry of Home Affairs: Royal Brunei Police Force (2024)

note: the Gurkha Reserve Unit (GRU) under the Ministry of Defense is a special guard force for the Sultan, the royal family, and the country’s oil installations

Military expenditures

3% of GDP (2023 est.)
2.6% of GDP (2022 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2021 est.)
3.7% of GDP (2020 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 31

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 7,000 total active-duty troops (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's s inventory includes equipment and weapons systems from a wide variety of suppliers from Asia, Europe, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for voluntary military service; non-Malays are ineligible to serve (2024)

note: the Gurkha Reserve Unit (GRU) employs about 500 Gurkhas from Nepal, the majority of whom are veterans of the British Army and the Singapore Police Force who have joined the GRU as a second career

Military - note

the Royal Brunei Armed Forces were formed in 1961 with British support as the Brunei Malay Regiment; "Royal" was added as an honorary title in 1965 and its current name was given in 1984; the military is responsible for ensuring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as countering outside aggression, terrorism, and insurgency 

Brunei has a long-standing defense relationship with the UK and hosts a British Army garrison, which includes a Gurkha battalion and a jungle warfare school; Brunei also hosts a Singaporean military training detachment
(2023)

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 20,863 (2022); note - thousands of stateless persons, often ethnic Chinese, are permanent residents and their families have lived in Brunei for generations; obtaining citizenship is difficult and requires individuals to pass rigorous tests on Malay culture, customs, and language; stateless residents receive an International Certificate of Identity, which enables them to travel overseas; the government is considering changing the law prohibiting non-Bruneians, including stateless permanent residents, from owning land

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Brunei does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so, therefore Brunei was upgraded to Tier 2 Watch List; key achievements included referring two alleged traffickers for prosecution, including one Bruneian national, identifying and providing assistance to 14 victims, opening two shelters for victims, and signing a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh on recruitment of migrant workers; however, the government did not effectively screen for trafficking among foreign nationals in commercial sex and migrant workers; officials handled some potential trafficking cases administratively, if at all, and probably inappropriately detained, prosecuted, and deported potentially unidentified sex and labor trafficking victims; for the sixth consecutive year, the government did not convict any traffickers under its anti-trafficking law, and other laws that could be used to prosecute traffickers did not provide sufficiently stringent sentences (2023)

Illicit drugs

drug trafficking and illegally importing controlled substances are serious offenses in Brunei and carry a mandatory death penalty