Kiribati is one of the least developed and poorest Pacific Island countries, with few natural resources. It is remote and vulnerable to climate change.
It consists of 32 low-lying atolls and the raised phosphate island of Banaba. Most of the islands are only 2 metres above present sea level, and may be submerged by the end of the century.
Its small economy relies heavily on fisheries revenue, exporting copra and coconuts, foreign aid, and remittance from citizens working abroad. Formal employment options are limited and many youths are unemployed. Geographic isolation, limited resources, impediments to business and poorly performing state-owned enterprises all limit growth. Rapid population growth and internal migration to South Tarawa (where 50% of the population lives) increases pressure on basic services and infrastructure. This leads to overcrowding, limited access to potable water, poor sanitation and hygiene, and a rapid rise in chronic diseases. Education outcomes are poor and few students finish school. Climate change will make the situation worse.
Australia is the largest aid donor to Kiribati; our aid comprises about 45% of total ODA to Kiribati (excluding Taiwan). Australia is committed to improving Kiribati’s economic prospects, and strengthening its economic and environmental resilience.