Kiribati 2003Kiribati

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Kiribati - Introduction 2003
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Background: 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.

Kiribati - Geography 2003
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Location: Oceania 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 (GMT +12) even though the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands under its jurisdiction lie on the other side of the International Date Line

Geographic coordinates: 1 25 N 173 00 E

Map referenceOceania

Total: 811 km²
Note: includes three island groups - Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands
Water: 0 km²
Land: 811 km²
Comparative: four times the size of Washington DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1143 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate: tropical; marine hot and humid moderated by trade winds

Terrain: mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs

Extremes lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: unnamed location on Banaba 81 m

Natural resources: phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 0%
Permanent crops: 50.68%
Other: 49.32% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: typhoons 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

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 - People 2003
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Population: 98,549 (July 2003 est.)
Growth rate: 2.26% (2003 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%

Noun: I-Kiribati (singular and plural)
Adjective: I-Kiribati

Ethnic groups: predominantly Micronesian with some Polynesian

Languages: I-Kiribati English (official)

Religions: Roman Catholic 52% Protestant (Congregational) 40% some Seventh-Day Adventist Muslim Baha'i Latter-day Saints and Church of God (1999)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 39.7% (male 19,839; female 19,333)
15-64 years: 57% (male 27,705; female 28,438)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 1,385; female 1,849) (2003 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age
Total: 19.7 years
Male: 19.3 years
Female: 20.2 years (2002)

Population growth rate: 2.26% (2003 est.)

Birth rate: 31.24 births/1000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate: 8.63 deaths/1000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2003 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: 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
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male/female
Total population: 0.99 male/female (2003 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate
Total: 51.26 deaths/1000 live births
Female: 45.82 deaths/1000 live births (2003 est.)
Male: 56.45 deaths/1000 live births

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 60.93 years
Male: 57.97 years
Female: 64.03 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.28 children born/woman (2003 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: NA%
People living with hivaids: NA
Deaths: NA

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: NA
Total population: NA%
Male: NA%
Female: NA%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Kiribati - Government 2003
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Kiribati
Conventional short form: Kiribati
Former: Gilbert Islands
Note: pronounced keer-ree-bahss

Government type: republic

Capital: Tarawa

Administrative divisions: 3 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)

Dependent areas

Independence: 12 July 1979 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day 12 July (1979)

Constitution: 12 July 1979

Legal system: NA

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President NA; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Elections: the House of Parliament chooses the presidential candidates from among their members and then those candidates compete in a general election; president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term; 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%
Cabinet: 12-member Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the House of Parliament
Head of government: President Anote TONG (since 10 July 2003); Vice President NA; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Legislative branch
Elections: first round elections last held 29 November 2002; second round elections held 6 December 2002 (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)
Note: new legislative elections were held in two rounds - the first round on 9 May 2003 and the second round on 14 May 2003

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal; High Court; 26 Magistrates' courts; judges at all levels are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders
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: ACP AsDB C ESCAP FAO IBRD ICAO ICFTU ICRM IDA IFC IFRCS ILO IMF ITU OPCW Sparteca SPC SPF UN UNESCO UPU WHO WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Kiribati does not have an embassy in the US; there is an honorary consulate in Honolulu
From the us: the US does not have an embassy in Kiribati; the ambassador to the Marshall Islands is accredited to Kiribati

Flag descriptionflag of Kiribati: the 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Kiribati - Economy 2003
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Economy overview: A 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. The financial sector is at an early stage of development as is the expansion of private sector initiatives. Foreign financial aid from UK Japan Australia New Zealand and China is a critical supplement to GDP equal to 25%-50% of GDP in recent years. Remittances from workers abroad account for more than $5 million each year.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 1.5% (2001 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 30%
Industry: 7%
Services: 63% (1998 est.)

Agriculture products: copra taro breadfruit sweet potatoes vegetables; fish

Industries: fishing handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate: 0.7% (1991 est.)

Labor force: 7,870 economically active not including subsistence farmers
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 2%; underemployment 70% (1992 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: NA%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: NA%
Highest 10: NA%

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $28.4 million
Expenditures: $37.2 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: NA

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 2.5% (2001 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $6 million f.o.b. (1998)
Commodities: copra 62% coconuts seaweed fish
Partners: Japan 56.7% Thailand 16.6% South Korea 16.3% (2002)

Imports: $44 million c.i.f. (1999)
Commodities: foodstuffs machinery and equipment miscellaneous manufactured goods fuel
Partners: France 28.7% Australia 26.3% Fiji 12.5% Japan 9.5% Latvia 5.4% US 4.6% New Zealand 4% (2002)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $10 million (1999 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.84 (2002) 1.93 (2001) 1.72 (2000) 1.55 (1999) 1.59 (1998)

Kiribati - Energy 2003
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 7 million kWh (2001)
By source fossil fuel: 100%
By source hydro: 0%
By source other: 0% (2001)
By source nuclear: 0%

Electricity consumption: 6.51 million kWh (2001)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Kiribati - Communication 2003
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system
General assessment: NA
Domestic: NA
Note: Kiribati is being linked to the Pacific Ocean Cooperative Telecommunications Network, which should improve telephone service
International: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .ki

Internet users: 1000 (2000)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Kiribati - Military 2003
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $NA
Percent of gdp: NA%

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Kiribati - Transportation 2003
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 20 (2002)
With paved runways total: 4
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 4 (2002)
With unpaved runways total: 16
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 12
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 4 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 4
15-24 to 2437 m: 4 (2002)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 16
914 to 1523 m: 12
Under 914 m: 4 (2002)



Railways: 0 km


Waterways: 5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands)

Merchant marine
Total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) 1,291 GRT/1,295 DWT
Ships by type: passenger/cargo 1 (2002 est.)

Ports and terminals

Kiribati - Transnational issues 2003
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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