Kiribati Economics and Business


According to COUNTRYAAH, Kiribati’s most important industries are agriculture, mostly as self-catering, as well as fishing on a local scale. The soil is barren, and the most common crops are bananas and fruits from coconut palms and pandanus palms (related screw palms), papaya and breadfruit trees. During the 1980s, copra agriculture was the only export commodity but a very uncertain source of income due to recurring drought and highly fluctuating world market prices. A new crop is seagrass, which is grown exclusively for export to Denmark; it supplemented Copran as an export commodity during the 1990s. With foreign aid, commercial fishing has also begun to develop, focusing mainly on tuna.

Kiribati GDP (Nominal, $USD) 2003-2017

The manufacturing industry is poorly developed. In Tarawa, a small center was established in 1990 for the manufacture of clothing, shoes, furniture and other consumer goods.

The current account deficit grew gradually during the 1980s and 1990s. Exports mainly consist of copra, coconuts, fish and fish products and seagrass and mainly went to France, Japan and the USA. Imports, which came mainly from Australia, Fiji and Japan, consisted primarily of food, machinery and transport.

In addition to export revenue, licenses that allow fishing fleets from, for example, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to fish within the 200-nautical mile limit as well as growing tourism provide important revenue for the country. In 1995, an agreement was reached between Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru and the Marshall Islands to start a joint airline, among other things, to develop the tourism industry.

Tourism and gastronomy

Today, tourism contributes about 20 percent of GDP and the hope is that it will increase. However, the country is difficult to access, and it will probably take time before the 5,000 annual tourists increase to any significant extent. Attempts to increase tourism are made, for example, by opening several war scenes from the Second World War.

Note: the capital city of Kiribati, abbreviated as KIR by, is capital atoll Tarawa with a population of 45,700 (2015).

The base of the kitchen is seafood combined with coconut, fresh fruit, taro and jams. The latter two are included in almost every meal. Pork is very popular, chicken as well. Whole roast pork served on banana leaves is ritual feast food, like palusami, meat or shrimp and onions cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in taro leaves.

Kiribati Economics and Business

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