Economic Sectors of Kiribati


Kiribati is a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean with a limited economic base and challenges stemming from its remote location, vulnerability to climate change, and dependence on external aid. The country’s economy is primarily based on a few key sectors, and its economic statistics reflect these unique circumstances. Here’s an overview of the statistics for each major economic sector in Kiribati:

  1. Fishing and Marine Resources: Fishing is a critical sector for Kiribati’s economy, providing a significant portion of export revenue and supporting livelihoods. According to Smber, the country has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that is rich in marine resources, making it an important fishing ground.
    • Contribution to GDP: Fishing and related activities contribute to a significant portion of Kiribati’s GDP.
    • Export Revenue: Revenue from fishing licenses and the export of fish products, including tuna, plays a crucial role in Kiribati’s foreign exchange earnings.
    • Employment: Fishing activities provide employment opportunities for local communities, including both subsistence and commercial fishing.
  2. Tourism: While relatively small, Kiribati’s tourism sector has potential due to its unique cultural heritage and natural beauty. The country’s atolls and lagoons offer opportunities for ecotourism and cultural experiences.
    • Contribution to GDP: Tourism contributes to Kiribati’s GDP, but the sector faces challenges related to accessibility and infrastructure.
    • Cultural Tourism: The country’s cultural traditions, including traditional dances and crafts, can attract tourists interested in cultural experiences.
  3. Agriculture: Agriculture is practiced mainly for subsistence in Kiribati. The country’s limited land area and vulnerable environment, including water scarcity and soil salinity, pose challenges for agricultural development.
    • Food Security: Agriculture contributes to food security for local communities, particularly in remote atolls where alternative food sources are limited.
    • Coconut Products: Coconut products, including copra and coconut oil, have been important commodities for export.
  4. Remittances: Remittances from Kiribati citizens working abroad, primarily in countries like Australia and New Zealand, are an essential source of income for many families.
    • Income Source: Remittances contribute to household incomes and local economies.
    • Economic Support: The inflow of remittances helps improve living standards and supports local economic activities.
  5. Government and Public Services: Government services and public administration contribute to the economy, providing essential public goods and services to the population.
    • Employment: Public services provide employment opportunities for local residents.
    • Public Investment: Government spending on infrastructure and development projects can stimulate economic activities.
  6. Construction and Infrastructure Development: Infrastructure development, including construction projects, contributes to economic activities in Kiribati.
    • Employment: Construction projects generate temporary employment opportunities for local communities.
    • Development Impact: Improved infrastructure supports economic growth and enhances living conditions.
  7. Financial Services: The financial services sector, including banking and financial institutions, plays a role in providing financial services to the population.
    • Financial Access: Financial services contribute to facilitating transactions and savings.
    • External Support: The sector is supported by external financial institutions and aid agencies.
  8. Energy and Utilities: Kiribati faces challenges in providing reliable and affordable energy due to its remote location. The country explores renewable energy sources to address energy security.
    • Renewable Energy: The adoption of solar and other renewable energy sources can reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels.
    • Energy Access: Improved energy access supports economic activities and enhances living conditions.

It’s important to note that Kiribati’s small and vulnerable economy is heavily influenced by external factors, including global economic trends, climate change impacts, and international aid. Additionally, economic data and situations can change rapidly, and there may have been developments in Kiribati’s economy. For the most current and accurate information, it’s recommended to consult recent reports from government agencies, international organizations, and reputable financial institutions.

Major Trade Partners of Kiribati

Kiribati, being a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean, has limited economic activity and a small population. Its trade relationships are influenced by factors such as its remote location, natural resources, and the unique challenges it faces due to climate change and vulnerability to external pressures. The country’s trade partners play a crucial role in its economic development, import and export activities, and efforts to sustain its population. Here’s an overview of Kiribati’s major trade partners up to that point:

  1. Australia: According to COUNTRYAAH.COM, Australia is a significant trade partner for Kiribati due to its geographic proximity and historical ties. Australia is involved in providing development assistance, aid, and technical support to Kiribati. The countries engage in trade relationships, with Australia being a destination for some Kiribati exports.
  2. United States: The United States is another important trade partner for Kiribati, particularly in terms of foreign assistance and development aid. The U.S. engages in diplomatic and developmental relations with Kiribati, contributing to the country’s economic sustainability.
  3. European Union (EU): The European Union is involved in trade relations with Kiribati, and the two entities cooperate in areas such as development aid, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development. The EU’s engagement supports Kiribati’s efforts to address challenges related to its small and vulnerable economy.
  4. China: China has been engaged in developmental and infrastructure projects in Kiribati, contributing to the country’s economic growth and capacity-building efforts. While not a major trade partner in terms of volume, China’s investments and assistance play a role in Kiribati’s development plans.
  5. New Zealand: New Zealand is involved in trade relationships with Kiribati and provides development assistance in areas such as education, health, and infrastructure. The two countries share a historical and cultural connection.
  6. Japan: Japan has engaged in developmental projects in Kiribati, including infrastructure improvements and climate resilience initiatives. The two countries have diplomatic and developmental ties that contribute to Kiribati’s economic stability.
  7. Taiwan (Republic of China): Taiwan has provided developmental assistance to Kiribati, supporting projects related to infrastructure, health, and education. The two countries have diplomatic and economic ties.
  8. United Kingdom (UK): The UK, through its Commonwealth connections, maintains diplomatic and developmental relations with Kiribati. While not a major trade partner, the UK’s engagement contributes to Kiribati’s economic sustainability.
  9. Fiji: Kiribati shares regional ties with Fiji and is part of regional organizations such as the Pacific Islands Forum. While trade volumes may not be significant, Fiji’s engagement contributes to Kiribati’s regional connections.
  10. Other Pacific Island Nations: Kiribati’s trade relationships extend to other Pacific Island nations, particularly through regional organizations and agreements. These relationships contribute to economic cooperation and regional stability.

Kiribati’s trade relationships are influenced by its unique circumstances, including its geographical isolation, limited resources, and vulnerability to climate change. Additionally, Kiribati’s trade dynamics can be affected by external factors such as changes in global economic trends, international aid policies, and geopolitical shifts. As such, it’s essential to consider that economic data and situations can change rapidly, and there may have been developments in Kiribati’s trade relationships. For the most current and accurate information about Kiribati’s trade partners, it’s recommended to refer to recent reports from government agencies, international organizations, and reputable financial institutions.