Republic of Kiribati

Bateriki Neneia Takita

Chair - Kiribati Chapter

In an island nation as fragile as Kiribati, Bateriki is an icon and one of the country’s leading maritime scientists. He is primarily overseeing the continued development of an efficient and sustainable fisheries industry. 

From the inception of Giant Clam Farms, he oversaw the creation of the low-tech hatchery, the complete farm layout, followed by the technical installation of aeration and seawater systems.

Professional Experience

Since the early 90’s Bateriki has performed both as the local counterpart and researcher in several bilateral Marine Resource Programs. These range from Atoll Research Programs with the University of the South Pacific to the Kiribati Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources Development.

He subsequently was invited to participate in the OFCF Japan / Kiribati Sea Cucumber Project, where he worked side-to-side with Japanese fisheries experts, setting up larval rearing and land based grow-outs.

Working closely with Taiwanese fisheries experts in establishing the Milkfish Aquaculture Station in Tarawa, he oversaw the day-to-day management of the operation and helped formulate the appropriate feed and help design the sluice gates for natural fry ingress.

Bateriki was then installed in a senior capacity in the FAO / Kiribati Food Security Project. In this capacity he conducted workshops and trainings on South Tarawa, targeting local communities and focusing on food security issues.

External Appointments

In 2019 he was assigned as Invertebrate Production Manager to Biota Inc. the leading “Marine Life Nursery” in the Republic of Palau, where he laid out the annual production plans and performed / monitored larvae health and spawning runs.

Among his major accolades, it should be noted that Bateriki produced and introduced a new giant clam hybrid product, named Dreamier. Additionally, he played a major role in establishing the first private-owned giant clam farm in Kiribati and successfully achieved the first settlement of white teat-fish larvae.

Country Report

The Gilbert Islands became a British protectorate in 1892 and a colony in 1915; they were captured by the Japanese in the Pacific War in 1941. The islands of Makin and Tarawa were the sites of major US amphibious victories over entrenched Japanese garrisons in 1943. The Gilbert Islands were granted self-rule by the UK in 1971 and complete independence in 1979 under the new name of Kiribati. The US relinquished all claims to the sparsely inhabited Phoenix and Line Island groups in a 1979 treaty of friendship with Kiribati. Kiribati joined the UN in 1999 and has been an active participant in international efforts to combat climate change.


Oceania, group of 32 coral atolls and one raised coral island in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the Equator; the capital Tarawa is about halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

Land Mass

811 sq km

Official Languages

English, Gilbertese



Head of State

Taneti Maamau




Unitary Parliamentary Republic


A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Island countries. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income. Although the number of seafarers employed declined due to changes in global shipping demands, remittances are expected to improve with more overseas temporary and seasonal work opportunities for Kiribati nationals. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. The public sector dominates economic activity, with ongoing capital projects in infrastructure including road rehabilitation, water and sanitation projects, and renovations to the international airport, spurring some growth. Public debt increased from 23% of GDP at the end of 2015 to 25.8% in 2016.

Kiribati is dependent on foreign aid, which was estimated to have contributed over 32.7% in 2016 to the government’s finances. The country’s sovereign fund, the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund (RERF), which is held offshore, had an estimated balance of $855.5 million in late July 2016. The RERF seeks to avoid exchange rate risk by holding investments in more than 20 currencies, including the Australian dollar, US dollar, the Japanese yen, and the Euro. Drawdowns from the RERF helped finance the government’s annual budget.

Gross Domestic Product

USD 227 million total
USD 2,000 per capita

Public Debt

26.3% of GDP

IDD Country Code


External Debt

USD 40.9 million


USD 84.75 million


Australian Dollar (AUD)

Import - Partners

Philippines 50.8%
Malaysia 17.2%
USA 11.4%
Bangladesh 5.8%
Fiji 5.4%

Export - Partners

Australia 29.3%
Fiji 17.3%
New Zealand 10.7%
China 5.8%
US 5.8%
Singapore 5.1%
Japan 4.6%
Thailand 4.1%

Unemployment Rate


Population below poverty line



Republic of Kiribati