Nauru [Country Flag of Nauru]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Nauru]



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Location: Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, south of the Marshall Islands

Geographic coordinates: 0 32 S, 166 55 E

Map references: Oceania

total: 21 sq km
land: 21 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 30 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February)

Terrain: sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location along plateau rim 61 m

Natural resources: phosphates

Land use:
arable land: NA%
permanent crops: NA%
permanent pastures: NA%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 100% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: periodic droughts

Environment—current issues: limited natural fresh water resources, roof storage tanks collect rainwater; intensive phosphate mining during the past 90 years—mainly by a UK, Australia, and New Zealand consortium—has left the central 90% of Nauru a wasteland and threatens limited remaining land resources

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean—the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia; only 53 km south of Equator


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Population: 10,501 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: 1.33% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 18.03 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.1 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 40.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.68 years
male: 64.3 years
female: 69.18 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.08 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Nauruan(s)
adjective: Nauruan

Ethnic groups: Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%

Religions: Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic)

Languages: Nauruan (official, a distinct Pacific Island language), English widely understood, spoken, and used for most government and commercial purposes

Literacy: NA


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Nauru
conventional short form: Nauru
former: Pleasant Island

Data code: NR

Government type: republic

National capital: no official capital; government offices in Yaren District

Administrative divisions: 14 districts; Aiwo, Anabar, Anetan, Anibare, Baiti, Boe, Buada, Denigomodu, Ewa, Ijuw, Meneng, Nibok, Uaboe, Yaren

Independence: 31 January 1968 (from the Australia-, New Zealand-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)

National holiday: Independence Day, 31 January (1968)

Constitution: 29 January 1968

Legal system: acts of the Nauru Parliament and British common law

Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Kinza CLODUMAR (since 8 February 1997); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Kinza CLODUMAR (since 8 February 1997); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a three-year term; election last held 8 February 1997 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: Kinza CLODUMAR elected president; percent of Parliament vote—NA
note: President CLODUMAR is the country's fifth president in five months

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (18 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 18 November 1995 (next to be held NA November 1998)
election results: percent of vote—NA; seats—independents 18

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: loose multi-party system; Nauru Party (informal), Bernard DOWIYOGO; Democratic Party, Kennan ADEANG

International organization participation: AsDB, C (special), ESCAP, ICAO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UNESCO, UPU, WHO

Diplomatic representation in the US: Nauru does not have an embassy in the US
consulate(s): Agana (Guam)

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Nauru; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Nauru

Flag description: blue with a narrow, horizontal, yellow stripe across the center and a large white 12-pointed star below the stripe on the hoist side; the star indicates the country's location in relation to the Equator (the yellow stripe) and the 12 points symbolize the 12 original tribes of Nauru


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Economy—overview: Revenues come from the export of phosphates, the reserves of which are expected to be exhausted by the year 2000. Phosphates have given Nauruans one of the highest per capita incomes in the Third World, but incomes probably will drop sharply in the future. Few other resources exist, so most necessities must be imported, including fresh water from Australia. The rehabilitation of mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious long-term problems. Substantial amounts of phosphate income are invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition. However, dividends from the trusts have declined sharply since 1990 and the government has been borrowing heavily from the trusts to finance fiscal deficits. In an effort to stem further escalation of fiscal problems, the government has called for a freeze on wages for two years, a reduction of over-staffed public service departments, drastic cutbacks in hiring new government staff, privatization of numerous government agencies, and closure of some overseas consulates.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$100 million (1993 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: NA%

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,000 (1993 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: -3.6% (1993)

Labor force:
by occupation: employed in mining phosphates, public administration, education, and transportation

Unemployment rate: 0%

revenues: $23.4 million
expenditures: $64.8 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY95/96)

Industries: phosphate mining, financial services, coconut products

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 10,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 30 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 2,956 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coconuts predominate

total value: $25.3 million (f.o.b., 1991)
commodities: phosphates
partners: Australia, NZ

total value: $21.1 million (c.i.f., 1991)
commodities: food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery
partners: Australia, UK, NZ, Japan

Debt—external: $33.3 million

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $2.25 million from Australia (FY96/97 est.)

Currency: 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Australian dollars ($A) per US$1—1.5281 (January 1998), 1.3439 (1997), 1.2773 (1996), 1.3486 (1995), 1.3667 (1994), 1.4704 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June


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Telephones: 2,000 (1989 est.)

Telephone system: adequate local and international radiotelephone communications provided via Australian facilities
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 4,000 (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1991 est.)

Televisions: NA


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total: 3.9 km; note—used to haul phosphates from the center of the island to processing facilities on the southwest coast

total: 30 km
paved: 24 km
unpaved: 6 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Nauru

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: no regular armed forces; Directorate of the Nauru Police Force

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none