The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the United Kingdom in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati (pronounced KI-ri-bahs). The United States relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati.
A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few national resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. The economy has fluctuated widely in recent years. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. Tourism provides more than one-fifth of GDP. The financial sector is at an early stage of development as is the expansion of private sector initiatives. Foreign financial aid, largely from the UK and Japan, is a critical supplement to GDP, equal to 25%-50% of GDP in recent years. Remittances from workers abroad account for more than $5 million each year.
From the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the U.S. Department of State website. Not Wikified.
- Transnational Issues
Kiribati includes several of the Line Islands, including Malden Island.