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2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$32.2 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$26.9 million


Kiribati faces significant development challenges with high child mortality, limited access to fresh water, high population density on Tarawa (where 50 per cent of the population lives), vulnerability to storm surges and rising sea levels, and limited opportunities for economic growth.

Secondary School students in Bikenibeu, Kiribati
Secondary School students in Bikenibeu, Kiribati (credit: DFAT).

Australia will work with the Government of Kiribati to improve development outcomes and economic growth in Kiribati. Australia will invest in education, infrastructure, empowering women and girls, supporting people with a disability. Australia’s aid investments will:

Learning new skills at a TVET carpentry demonstration in Kiribati

Learning new skills at a TVET carpentry demonstration in Kiribati (credit: DFAT).

  • improve primary education outcomes with a focus on early grade learning (years 1-4) to achieve functional literacy and numeracy
  • provide young I-Kiribati women and men with the skills and qualifications to access domestic and international employment and training opportunities
  • improve the country’s economic management through measures to reduce the budget deficit and increase tax revenue
  • support economic infrastructure such as road, access to telecommunications, affordable energy options for households, and protecting economic infrastructure and livelihoods through improving seawalls and protecting scarce freshwater supplies
  • support people with a disability to ensure they benefit from economic growth, and work with non-government and international organisations to promote an end to violence against women and children.

New roads in South Tarawa
New roads in South Tarawa are more resilient to rising sea levels and tidal flows (credit: DFAT).

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.


Results to 30 June 2013

  • Australia’s support increased the detection of tuberculosis cases from 300 in 2009 to 350 in 2011. Early detection and treatment of cases reduces the transmission of tuberculosis in communities.

Commitments 2013–14

  • Complete the new Betio Maternity Hospital to provide safe delivery services for over 1,200 women annually in South Tarawa.
  • Rehabilitate the Kiribati School of Nursing to improve the quality of nursing education in Kiribati.
  • Rehabilitate sewerage networks and help foster better hygiene and sanitation practices at the household level to reduce infant deaths from diarrhoea.
  • Continue the tuberculosis program to further reduce the prevalence of tuberculosis in Kiribati.


Results to 30 June 2013

  • More children with disabilities—105 in 2012 compared to 80 in 2010—are now able to access the School and Centre for Children with Special Needs.
  • Since 2007, 245 scholarships have been awarded to students to study at tertiary institutions.
  • School facilities have been improved for 870 primary school children, access to water and sanitation facilities has been expanded for a further 2,458 school children and teachers.
  • Youth participation at the Kiribati Institute of Technology has increased. Young people comprised 81 per cent of the intake in 2012, up from 70 per cent in 2011.
  • The Kiribati Institute of Technology has been supported by TAFE South Australia, which means it now offers training and assessment accredited under the Australian Qualifications Training Framework.
  • A legislative and policy framework for education has been established.

Commitments 2013–14

  • Continue to award tertiary scholarships to Australian and regional universities, as well as through the Australia-Pacific Technical College.
  • Rehabilitate a further 8 primary schools, ensuring that an additional 883 children are learning in safe environments.
  • Continue to support technical and vocational education and training, including by maintaining international standards by building the skills of teachers, improving the curriculum and assessments, and upgrading facilities through an agreement with TAFE South Australia.
  • Implement the new Teacher Professional Development framework that was developed to ensure teachers are competent to teach in both Te-Kiribati and English, and are able to deliver the curriculum.

Economic development

Results to 30 June 2013

  • Detecting leaks on the Betio village section of the South Tarawa water pipeline, and carrying out repair work, has added 10 per cent more water to the South Tarawa treated water supply.

Commitments 2013–14

  • Rehabilitate the main road on South Tarawa linking communities to schools, hospitals and markets.
  • Support the introduction of a competitive information and communication technology policy to encourage foreign investment for increased mobile and internet coverage.
  • Reduce dependence on imported diesel for power generation through the installation of solar photovoltaic at four selected sites on South Tarawa.
  • Support the implementation of the new National Fisheries Policy, with a focus on food security and coastal fisheries management.
  • Continue supporting regional fisheries organisations, which assist Kiribati in negotiating licensing agreements and exclusive economic zone surveillance and management.


Results to 30 June 2013

  • The Government has introduced a Medium Term Fiscal Framework in an effort to reduce its fiscal deficit over time and ensure an increased share of budget allocations to areas such as health and education.
  • An Economic Reform Plan was drafted to guide Kiribati’s economic priorities and donor contributions. It takes account of government and donor dialogue, consistent with commitments under the Forum Compact. Australia regularly participates in economic policy dialogue on the Economic Reform Plan.
  • Australia supported the Government of Kiribati to hold its Development Partner Forum 2012, which will strengthen aid coordination.
  • A 10-year plan on a National Approach to Eliminating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence was endorsed in 2011.
  • A number of policy reforms have been approved by Cabinet as part of the overall state-owned enterprise reform strategy. One state-owned enterprise has already been sold, and another has been put up for sale. New state-owned enterprise reform legislation was passed by Parliament in April 2013.

Commitments 2013–14

  • Continue to participate in the economic policy dialogues on the Economic Reform Plan, and consider providing a budget support program in cooperation with the World Bank.
  • Implement the new country gender plan with the Government of Kiribati under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative.
  • Install a new computerised tax system to support improved revenue collection and tax compliance.
  • Upgrade the Attaché accounting system, including reforms to budgeting methodology, accounting standards, reporting and payment systems.
  • Continue to support the reforms of state-owned enterprises.


Research overview

Research funded by our Kiribati country program targets the country’s specific development challenges. Research is also carried out on a regional level. Some of the highlights are listed below.

Micro-simulation analysis of social protection interventions in Pacific island countries (2012)

Pacific island countries have varying social protection systems, both formal and traditional. These systems are important in supporting the most vulnerable members of society and those affected by personal and natural disasters.

In the Pacific islands, social protection has typically been an area of low government involvement. Knowledge about formal social protection in the region is limited, and there have been no studies on the impact of such schemes on poverty, human development and economic growth.

This research looks at poverty, vulnerability and social protection across the dimensions of health and education, gender, social cohesion, economic growth, and traditional protection networks. It is based on case studies in four Pacific island countries: Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Read the Micro-simulation analysis of social protection interventions in Pacific Island countries report

Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme: Development Impacts in the First Two Years (2011)

Australia launched the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme in August 2008. The program was designed to alleviate labour shortages for the Australian horticultural industry by providing opportunities for workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu to undertake seasonal work. This paper presents an analysis of the development impacts of this program in the first two years, and compares them to those from New Zealand’s seasonal worker program in the same countries.
The research examines Pacific seasonal workers’ employment experience, remittances, and training to determine how effective a seasonal worker program is in contributing to economic development in home countries.
In addition to providing an initial assessment of development impact, this research project develops a base line for future evaluation and analysis.

Read the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme report [PDF 663kb]

Kiribati Family Health and Support Study (2010)

This report is the first ever nationally representative piece of research on violence against women and related child abuse in Kiribati. The study replicates the World Health Organization’s multi-country study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women.

It was designed to:

  • estimate the prevalence of physical, sexual and emotional violence against women, with particular emphasis on violence by intimate partners;
  • assess the association of partner violence with a range of health outcomes;
  • identify factors that may either protect or put women at risk of partner violence;
  • document the strategies and services that women use to cope with violence by an intimate partner; and
  • assess the association of partner violence with abuse against children.
Read the Kiribati Family Health and Support Study


Where is Kiribati?

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Country Demographic Statistics

Population: 103,466

GDP growth (annual %, 2010): 1.8 per cent

GNI per capita, Atlas method (US$ 2010): US$2,010

Percentage population living below the US$1.25 poverty line: Not available*

Net enrolment rate in primary school: 81.8 per cent

Ratio of female to male primary enrolment (% 2009): 103.7 per cent

Mortality rate of children under 5 (per 1,000): 46

Maternal mortality (per 100,000): Not available*

Adjusted net savings (percentage of GNI) against carbon dioxide emissions per capita (tonnes): Not available*

Sources: Kiribati Census, World Bank, UN Human Development Indicators

* The UN or the World Bank does not have a record for this data category. Collection of statistics in the Pacific is an ongoing issue.



heading foldWhy we give aid


Kiribati faces major development challenges, including low per capita GDP, rapid population growth, urbanisation, and high youth unemployment. Australia has a close relationship with Kiribati, and we are working together to create opportunities for all I-Kiribati by improving education, developing workforce skills, improving growth and economic management, and strengthening infrastructure.

Find out more about why we give aid to Kiribati


heading foldHow we give aid

Under the Australia—Kiribati Partnership for Development, Australian aid supports improving education standards and workforce skills, strengthening economic management, and improving infrastructure, including climate change adaptation. Australia is the largest donor to Kiribati. We work closely with key development partners such as New Zealand and the multilateral development banks.

Find out more about how we give aid to Kiribati

Read the Australia-Kiribati Partnership for Development document

Read the Kiribati Aid Program Performance Report 2013-14


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
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Australia Awards

Australia Awards in Kiribati


Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014