|Economy - overview: 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.
Performance in 2000 fell short of the 2.5% growth in 1999, which benefited
from increased copra production and exceptionally large revenues from
GDP: purchasing power parity - $76 million
(2000 est.), supplemented by a nearly equal amount from external sources
SOURCE: The World Factbook
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