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Kiribati

  • Capital Tarawa (1°28´N, 173°2´E)
  • International airport(s) Bonriki International Airport, Tarawa; Cassidy International Airport, Kiritimati
  • Official language(s) English, Gilbertese
  • Currency Kiribati dollar, Australian dollar (AUD)
  • Time UTC+12, +13, +14
  • Region Pacific
GeographyClimateEconomyCulture
Kiribati (pronounced kee‐ree‐bas) consists of 33 coral islands with a total land area of 810 km2. Only 21 of the islands are inhabited. The islands are scattered over 3.5 million km2 in the Central Pacific Ocean, making it one of the most remote and geographically dispersed countries in the world.

It is composed of three island groups: the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands and the Phoenix Islands. All of the islands are atolls or ring‐shaped with central lagoons, except for the island of Banaba, which is a raised limestone island. It is the only country situated in four hemispheres of the world. It is also the furthest ahead of Greenwich meantime at UTC +14, making it the first country in the world to see in the New Year. Caroline island was the first island to ring in the Third Millennium in 2000 and, to celebrate the occasion, it was renamed Millennium Island.

Most of the atolls are low‐lying, making them vulnerable to tidal surges and rising sea levels as a result of global warming. Two small uninhabited islets, Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea, which ironically means 'the beach which is long‐lasting', disappeared below the sea in 1999. In 2014, to escape climate change, Kiribati acquired 20 km2 of land in Fiji for the purpose of food security and as a possible refuge.
Kiribati experiences a hot and humid equatorial maritime climate, moderated by the trade winds. The temperature in Kiribati is closely related to the temperatures of seas surrounding the islands. There is almost no variation in temperature, with average monthly temperatures falling between 27 and 28 °C through the year. Annual rainfalls vary greatly throughout the year and between islands. Average annual rainfall is generally below 1 200 mm in Kiribati but varies between 1 000 and 3 000 mm across the country: the northern parts of the Gilbert and Line groups receive more rain than the Phoenix group. -—
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The Phoenix islands are also home to the second largest marine protected area in the world, called the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. In 2010, it was inscribed to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
Kiribati is among the least developed Pacific island nations with a GDP per capita of US$1 657 in 2019. Foreign aid and personal remittances provide important sources of funding at 10 per cent of GDP each -—
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. Fish constitute the bulk of goods exports, with over 80 per cent share. According to the items attribute is mandatory, Kiribati's large exclusive economic zone in the Pacific accounts for one quarter of the global total of tuna species. The ADB estimates that revenue from fishing licenses equals two thirds of GDP in Kiribati. Together agriculture, forestry and, especially fishing, account for almost one fourth of GDP, while services constitute the largest economic sector -—
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. Kiribati was the destination of 12 thousand tourist arrivals in 2019 and 9 thousand in 2018. Inbound tourism expenditure was below 2 per cent over GDP in 2018 -—
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. EVI of Kiribati is the highest among the SIDS and in the world -—
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The name Kiribati is the Gilbertese pronunciation of Gilberts, ‐ KI‐ruh‐bas, ‐ the main archipelago of the country. The letter 's' doesn't exist in the 13‐letter Gilbertese alphabet and is written as 'ti'. This explains why Kiribati isn't pronounced the way it is spelled.

The native islanders of Kiribati are known as I‐Kiribati. They are Micronesian, the largest ethnic group accounting for around 96 per cent of the country's population. The most widely practiced religion in Kiribati is Christianity. The most important institutional symbol in Kiribati is the maneaba ni Maungatabu, social and community hall, where people meet to discuss matters of importance, under the leadership of elected elders, Unimwane and Christian leaders.

The traditional dances of Kiribati, or 'te Mwaie ni Kiribati', are unique bird‐like dances, imitating the movements of the frigate bird while walking and flying.

Oreano is a traditional team sport and the national sport in Kiribati ‐ two opposing teams throw a heavy woven ball of somewhere between 2 to 5 kg, which should be caught without being dropped or injuring the players. Other popular sports are canoe racing and football.

The national dish of Kiribati is Palusami. It consists of coconut cream with onions and curry powder wrapped in taro leaves. It is eaten with roast pork or chicken. Another popular dish is boiled pandanus fruit, or screw pine.
Land areakm2
Arable land%
Forest area%
Coastline
lengthkm
Exclusive economic zonekm2
Nearest
neighbourkm
Economic trendsMaritime transportPopulationInternational tradeEnvironmentInformation and communications technology
Gross domestic product
US dollars at constant prices (2015) in millions
GDP per capita

2019

US$

Productive Capacity Index

2018

Economic and environmental vulnerability index

2019

Consumer Price Index growth

2019

%

Unemployment
rate

Total %
Female %, Male %
Main economic sectors, 2019
Percentage of GDP
Tourist arrivals
Thousands of tourists, percentage of GDP
External financial resources
Percentage of GDP
Public debt as % of GDP

2018

%

Fleet size
Number of ships
Ship type20112019
Total fleet1 4071 407
Oil tankers264266
Bulk carriers311333
General cargo16177
Container ships5249
Other types of ships619682
Port performance
Ranked by 2019 data within SIDS group
Indicators2019SIDS Ranking
Number of port calls4135
Median time in port (days)24
Average age of vessels635
Average size (GT) of vessels14 25720
Container port throuput

2019

TEU

Bilateral connectivity index, 2019
Top 5 partners
Liner shipping connectivity index
Maximum China Q1 2006=100
Total population
Thousands of people, share of urban population
Population development indicators
IndicatorsPeriodValue
Poverty headcount (% of population)200612.9
Human development index20180.6
Human assets index202083
Adult literacy rate (15+ years, both sexes %)....
Gender inequality index20100.7
Life expectancy at birth

years

Population density

2019

persons per km2
Dependency
ratio

2019

Child:
Old-age:
Age structure by gender, 2019
Percentage of total population
Merchandise and services trade
US dollars in millions
Indicators20052010201520192019 (% of GDP)
Merchandise exports4410126.2
Merchandise imports747311713267.7
Services exports11121600
Services imports44528200
Trade openness
Goods and services

% of GDP

Export concentration index

2019

Food import
dependency
Average 2015-2019

Top 5 partners in merchandise trade, 2019
Exports in millions US dollars
Merchandise exports by product group, 2019
Services exports by category, 2019
CO2 emissions per capita
Kg per capita
CO2 emissions per GDP
Kg per 2010 US$ of GDP
Renewable energy share in total energy consumption, 2017
Percentage of total energy consumption
Material
footprint
per capita

2016

kg

Terrestrial
protected
area

2018

%

Marine
protected
area

2018

%

Disasters indicators
Data not available
Trade in ICT goods

Exports: %
Imports: %
Trade in ICT services

Exports: %
Imports: %
Share of
internet users

%

Fixed broadband vs Mobile broadband subscriptions
Number of subscriptions per 100 people
Sources
Source of data: -—
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except indicators listed below.
References
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