General Information about Nauru

The official name is the Republic of Nauru. Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The area is 21.3 km2, the population is 12.6 thousand people. (2003). The official languages are Nauruan and English. The administrative center is Yaren County (4.9 thousand people, 2003). National holiday – Independence Day on January 31. The monetary unit is the Australian dollar.

Member of the UN (since 1999), the Pacific Islands Forum (formerly UTF, since 1971).

Located on the island of the same name south of the Marshall Islands. Geographical coordinates: 0°32 south latitude and 166°55 east longitude.

Nauru is a high coral atoll (the highest point is 61 m). The length of the coastline is 30 km. The central plateau, due to many years of phosphate mining, has turned into a “lunar landscape”. Coconut palms, pandanus and local shrubs grow on a narrow strip (up to 300 m) of fertile land along the coast. There are rats, lizards, few species of birds on the island.

Natural resources: phosphate deposits. There are fish stocks in the 200-mile economic zone (320 thousand km2).

The climate is equatorial. Temperature +24-34°С. November to February is the monsoon season. Precipitation – up to 2000 mm per year, but there are also droughts.

Nauruans (related to Polynesians) – 58% of the population, immigrants from other Pacific islands – 26%, Chinese and Europeans – 8% each. Nauruan and English are used. According to Countryaah, life expectancy for men is 58 years, for women 65 years. Infant mortality 10 people per 1000 newborns.

Among believers, adherents of the Nauruan Protestant Church (2/3) prevail, the rest are Catholics.

Since 1886 the island has been under German control. Since 1914 – under the administrative control of Australia (had a joint mandate with Great Britain and New Zealand for its administration from the League of Nations, and then from the UN). Nauru gained independence in 1968.

Nauru is an independent state, a member of the Commonwealth (formerly British) of nations. Administratively divided into 14 districts.

There is no capital. The government and parliament are located in Yaren district. Legislative power is vested in a unicameral parliament. 18 deputies are elected by popular vote once every 3 years (next elections in 2006). The head of state and executive power is the president (since August 2003 – R. Harris), who is elected from the parliament. The president also appoints cabinet members from among the parliamentarians. There are several semi-formal political parties, but the population follows clan traditions when voting.

Nauru has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in 1987).

GDP per capita – approx. $5,000 (2001, purchasing power parity). The basis of the economy is the extraction of phosphates, which are close to exhaustion. For the existence of the economy in the “post-phosphate era”, deductions were made to a special trust fund from income from the extraction of phosphates. However, due to the unstable political environment in recent years, the poor management of the fund and the withdrawal of funds from it to cover the budget deficit, Nauru’s dependence on foreign financial assistance has increased dramatically. Indigenous people are mainly employed in the public sector, transport and the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. There are almost no lands suitable for agriculture. The population grows vegetables and fruits, and also keeps pigs and chickens. The main cash crop is coconuts.

The railway (5 km) connects the phosphate mines with the seaport. Of the 30 km of roads, 24 km are paved. An international airport (paved runway) connects the island with air links to Australia and other Pacific countries.

There is practically no tourism on Nauru, and the opportunities for it are extremely limited.

By agreement with Australia, Nauru uses Australian banknotes and is linked to its monetary system.

An important source of foreign currency is remittances from Nauruans working or living abroad. As an offshore financial center, the island is included in the OECD’s black list of countries that do not prevent the laundering of “dirty money”.

Education is free and compulsory for children aged 6-16. A branch of the University of the South Pacific (Fiji) was opened. On special scholarships, approx. 1,000 Nauruans receive higher education abroad.

People of Nauru