|Republic of Kiribati
|Form of government
||Kiribati dollar, Australian dollar
||UTC +12, +13, +14
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Kiribati consists of a total of 33
atolls (coral islands), which are located in the central
Pacific south and north of the equator. The country
covers only 811 km², the water surface over 3.5 million
square kilometers. The islands can be divided into three
groups apart from the island of Banaba (Ocean Island):
to the west of the 180th longitude (date line) are the
16 Gilbert Islands (in the local language Tungaru) with
the main island Tarawa. To the east of it are the eight
uninhabited Phoenix Islands and the eight (out of a
total of eleven) Line Islands.
The island of Banaba (Ocean Island) lies west of the
170th degree of longitude and is an exception among the
islands of the Republic of Kiribati, as it reaches a
height of up to 81 m. All other islands protrude about
three meters from the water and are typical flat coral
islands with the ring shapes typical of atolls. There
are mostly lagoons between the outer coral ring and the
islands, the coasts are characterized by long white
sandy beaches. The islands are usually only between 200
and 300 m wide, but can be considerably longer.
Precipitation seeps through the porous surface, so that
there is hardly any surface water.
The capital of the republic, Bairiki, is located on
the island of Tarawa, which is part of the Gilbert
The islands of the Republic of Kiribati have a
tropical, humid climate with high temperatures all year
round. The average daytime temperature is around 28 กใ C
all year round. Rainfall is between 2,500 mm per year on
the northern islands and up to 1,100 mm on the southern
islands. Most of the precipitation falls from November
to March. Cyclones can occur.
Flora and fauna
Due to the nutrient-poor soil, the vegetation of the
islands is poor in species. There are coconut palms,
screw trees, breadfruit trees and salt bushes.
The mammals present on the islands (eg rabbits,
rodents) were introduced by humans. Only the bird world
and the underwater world in the coral reefs are rich in
species. Seabirds include frigate and tropical birds,
boobies, shearwater, terns and gulls.
A total of 103,000 people live on the islands of the
Republic of Kiribati. The Kiribati or I-Kiribati are
almost 99% Micronesians, in addition there are smaller
groups of residents who are of Chinese, Polynesian or
European origin. Most I-Kiribati are Christians: about
53% of the population are Catholic, 40% Protestant.
Baha'i followers make up a religious minority of around
The population density is on average around 127
residents per square kilometer, but is very different on
the islands. More than 80% of I-Kiribati live in the
Gilbert Islands, alone 40% of the total population on
the main island of Tarawa. The largest urban settlement
in the republic is located here, the capital Bairiki
with around 37,000 residents. Of the Line Islands, only
the Christmas (Kiritimati), the Fanning (Tabuaeran) and
the Washington Island (Teraina) are inhabited. The eight
Phoenix Islands are uninhabited. The national language
is Kiribati (Gilbertese), which belongs to the
Austronesian languages, and English is also spoken.
Medical care for the population is free of charge.
The average life expectancy is 62 years; population
growth is approximately 2.25%. School attendance is
compulsory for children between the ages of six and 14,
and there are only secondary schools on the island of
Tarawa. According to COUNTRYAAH,
the literacy rate is around 90%.
According to the 1979 constitution, Kiribati is a
presidential republic. The head of state is the
president elected by the people for a term of four years
(Anote Tong, since July 2003), who is also head of the
government and foreign minister. He appoints his cabinet
from among the members of parliament.
The legislature lies with the one-chamber parliament
(Maneaba Ni Maungatabu) with 46 seats. 44 people are
directly elected by the people for a term of four years,
one seat is ex officio.
Kiribati is divided into three administrative units
(Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands) and six
districts. For each of the 21 inhabited islands there is
an Island Council as the local administrative authority.
The island nation of Kiribati has hardly any
resources. Since the end of phosphate mining on the
island of Banaba in the late 1970s, copra and fishery
products have been the country's most important export
goods. Kiribati is highly dependent on foreign funding.
Only every fifth inhabitant is in official employment.
Most Kiribati are employed in agriculture and
fishing. Mostly in subsistence farming, coconut palms,
sweet potatoes, jams and bananas are cultivated. Fishing
is of great importance, but catches have dropped
dramatically in the past few years, especially for tuna.
Agriculture contributes a quarter to Kiribati's bread
and butter product.
Over two thirds of GDP are generated in the service
sector. The industry, which mainly consists of small
food processing companies and handicrafts, generates
only 8%. Industrial growth is severely limited by the
lack of trained workers.
The tourism sector is becoming increasingly important
(around a fifth of GDP). In 1998 the international
airport Bonriki on the island of Tawara and Cassidy on
the island of Kiritimati (Christmas Island) were
expanded, since then larger machines can also land
Kiribati's main imports are food, machinery, vehicles
and fuels from Australia, Fiji, Japan and New Zealand.
Above all, Kopra is exported, alongside fishery products
and coconuts to Japan, Australia, the USA and Fiji.
The road network on the islands covers a total of
about 680 km.
Kiribati's currencies are the Kiribati dollar and the