Kiribati

Country Summary

Introduction

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 and retaken by the US 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. Kiribati joined the UN in 1999 and has been an active participant in international efforts to combat climate change.

Geography

Area

total: 811 sq km
land: 811 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Climate

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

Natural resources

phosphate (production discontinued in 1979), coconuts (copra), fish

People and Society

Population

115,372 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

I-Kiribati 95.78%, I-Kiribati/mixed 3.8%, Tuvaluan 0.2%, other 1.7% (2020 est.)

Languages

Gilbertese, English (official)

Religions

Roman Catholic 58.9%, Kiribati Uniting Church 21.2%, Kiribati Protestant Church 8.4%, Church of Jesus Christ 5.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 2.1%, Baha'i 2.1%, other 1.7% (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

1.02% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Tarawa

Executive branch

chief of state: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Teuea TOATU (since 19 June 2019); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Taneti MAAMAU (since 11 March 2016); Vice President Teuea TOATU (since 19 June 2019)

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)

Economy

Economic overview

lower-middle income, Pacific island economy; environmentally fragile; sizable remittances; key phosphate mining fund; tourism and fishing industries; public sector-dominated economy; recent withdrawal from Pacific Islands Forum; ongoing constitutional crisis

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$262.821 million (2022 est.)
$258.777 million (2021 est.)
$239.908 million (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,000 (2022 est.)
$2,000 (2021 est.)
$1,900 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

coconuts, roots/tubers, bananas, vegetables, taro, tropical fruit, poultry, pork, nuts, eggs

Industries

fishing, handicrafts

Exports

$19.677 million (2022 est.)
$10.754 million (2021 est.)
$21.228 million (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

Thailand 60%, Indonesia 11%, Philippines 10%, Japan 6%, South Korea 3% (2021)

Exports - commodities

skipjacks, tuna, fish fillets, ships, coconut oil, copra (2021)

Imports

$254.438 million (2022 est.)
$201.984 million (2021 est.)
$148.77 million (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

China 23%, Taiwan 16%, Fiji 16%, Australia 12%, New Zealand 6% (2021)

Imports - commodities

fishing ships, beef, netting, poultry meat, rice, refined petroleum, sugar, refrigerators (2021)

Exchange rates

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
1.442 (2022 est.)
1.331 (2021 est.)
1.453 (2020 est.)
1.439 (2019 est.)
1.338 (2018 est.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, April 09, 2024