Republic of Nauru
CAPITAL : There is no formal capital. The seat of government is in the district of Yaren.
FLAG : The flag has a blue background divided horizontally by a narrow gold band, symbolizing the equator. Below the band is a white 12-pointed star, representing the island's 12 traditional tribes.
ANTHEM : Nauru Ubwema ( Nauru, Our Homeland ).
MONETARY UNIT : The Australian dollar ( A $) of 100 cents is the legal currency. A $1 = US $0.61728 (or US $1 = A $1.62) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : Imperial weights and measures are used.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Independence Day, 31 January; Angam Day, 26 October (a celebration of the day on which the population of Nauru reached the pre-World War II level); Christmas Day, 25 December; and Boxing Day, 26 December.
TIME : 11:30 PM = noon GMT.
Immigration to Nauru is strictly controlled by the government. Nauruans are free to travel abroad. In 1999 the net migration rate was zero migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory. There were a total of 5,000 migrants living in Nauru in 2000, which accounted for more than 30% of the total population.
Nauruan, which is distinct from all other Pacific tongues, is the official language. However, English is still commonly used in the schools, in government, and in business transactions. Most Nauruans are bilingual but use Nauruan in everyday life.
The Nauruans have accepted Christianity as a primary religion since the end of the 19th century. A 2002 report indicates that about two-thirds of the population are Protestant and one-third are Roman Catholic. Buddhism and Taoism are also represented, particularly among the Chinese community.
Nauru has no armed forces. Although there is no formal agreement, Australia ensures its defense. There is a police force of 60 officers under civilian control.
Nauru was admitted to the UN on 14 September 1999 and participates in the Asian Development Bank, ESCAP, FAO, ICAO, ITU, UNESCO, UPU, and WHO. The nation belongs to the South Pacific Commission and South Pacific Forum and is a special member of the Commonwealth of Nations, taking part in some Commonwealth functions but not represented at heads-ofgovernment conferences. Nauru has signed the Law of the Sea.
Since the cultivated area is limited to about 200–240 ha (500– 600 acres), there is little commercial agriculture. The main crop is coconuts; in 1999, production amounted to 2,000 tons. Some vegetables are grown, mainly by the Chinese population.
Pigs and chickens roam uncontrolled on the island; hence, there is no organized production. In 2001, there were an estimated 2,800 pigs.
There is as yet no organized fishing industry on Nauru, although the government plans to develop fishing facilities. The Nauru Fishing Corp., formed in 1979, is owned by the Local Government Council. Fish are plentiful and consumption is high, since almost all meat has to be imported from Australia. The total catch in 2000 was 250 tons.
There are no forests on Nauru. All building timber has to be imported.
Power requirements on the island are met by a diesel oil generator to which nearly all buildings are connected. In 2001, total installed electrical power capacity was 10,000 kW. Production in 2000 was 30 million kWh, of which 100% was from fossil fuels. Consumption of electricity in 2000 was 27.9 million kWh. Imports of refined petroleum products amounted to 950 barrels per day in 1994.
Nauru has little advanced technology, and Nauruans must travel abroad, usually to Australia, for scientific training.
The Nauru Cooperative Society conducts most of the nation's retail trade. The island is completely dependent on imported goods; foodstuffs come mainly from Australia. A majority of the population is employed in the phosphate mining industry, which is currently the nation's primary export.
Nauru has a strongly favorable balance of trade, and investments abroad are substantial.
The government-owned Bank of Nauru was founded in 1976. The Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia and the Bank of New South Wales have branches in Nauru. The only commercial bank in the country is the Jefferson Bank and Trust Co. (1980). Most of the income from phosphates is invested in long-term funds overseas.
There is no stock exchange.
The Nauru Insurance Corp., founded in 1974, is the only licensed insurer and reinsurer on the island. It underwrites all classes of insurance, including aviation and marine.
There is no income or other tax in Nauru, although Parliament has power to impose taxes. In 2000, the OECD listed Nauru as one of 38 "uncooperative tax havens." In 2002, it was one of only seven countries that had not gotten themselves removed from the list by taking some corrective action.
Duties are payable only on imported cigarettes, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages.
Ownership of houses built for Nauruans under a housing scheme is vested in the Local Government Council, but some Nauruan homes are privately owned. Nearly all houses have electricity and newer homes have a greater number of amenities.
Nauru has one small lending library but no museums. There is a university library with 1,000 volumes.
The Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and similar organizations function on the island. The Nauru National Youth Council was established in 1990 to encourage the development of various youth organizations. The Women's Information and News Agency monitors issues relating to women and government.
With its sandy beach, coral reef, tropical climate, and sea breezes, Nauru has great potential for the development of tourism. Visas are required for entry, but inoculations are not mandatory.
In 1999, the US State Department estimated that daily expenses required by travelers in Nauru was $105 per day. Hotel costs account for over 50% of this expenditure.
The best-known Nauruan is its first president, Hammer DeRoburt (1923–92), who led the Nauruan people to political independence; he was president from 1968 to 1976 and again from 1978 until his death in 1992 (except for a brief period in 1986).
Nauru has no territories or colonies.
McDaniel, Carl N. Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2000.
Pollock, Nancy J. Nauru Bibliography. Wellington, N.Z.: Dept. of Anthropology, Victoria University of Wellington, 1994.
Weeramantry, C. G. Nauru: Environmental Damage under International Trusteeship. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.