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  Introduction Back To Top

The Sultanate of Brunei's influence peaked between the 15th and 17th centuries when its control extended over coastal areas of northwest Borneo and the southern Philippines. Brunei subsequently entered a period of decline brought on by internal strife over royal succession, colonial expansion of European powers, and piracy. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate; independence was achieved in 1984. The same family has ruled Brunei for over six centuries. Brunei benefits from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, the source of one of the highest per capita GDPs in Asia.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.09
per capita: 243 cu m/yr (1994)

Total renewable water resources:
8.5 cu km (1999)

Land boundaries:
total: 381 km
border countries: Malaysia 381 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

tropical; hot, humid, rainy

Map references:
Southeast Asia

Geographic coordinates:
4 30 N, 114 40 E

Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, timber

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Bukit Pagon 1,850 m

flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west

Geography - note:
close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; almost an enclave within Malaysia

total: 5,770 sq km
land: 5,270 sq km
water: 500 sq km

Southeastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia

161 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Delaware

Irrigated land:
10 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or to median line

Natural hazards:
typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are rare

Land use:
arable land: 2.08%
permanent crops: 0.87%
other: 97.05% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.94 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.52 years
male: 73.32 years
female: 77.83 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.7%
male: 95.2%
female: 90.2% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
2.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Malay 66.3%, Chinese 11.2%, indigenous 3.4%, other 19.1% (2004 est.)

Median age:
total: 27.5 years
male: 27.5 years
female: 27.5 years (2008 est.)

381,371 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.2% of GDP (2000)

Population growth rate:
1.785% (2008 est.)

Malay (official), English, Chinese

Death rate:
3.28 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.69 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.2% (male 53,400/female 50,333)
15-64 years: 69.6% (male 132,895/female 132,391)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 5,927/female 6,425) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
18.39 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Muslim (official) 67%, Buddhist 13%, Christian 10%, other (includes indigenous beliefs) 10%

noun: Bruneian(s)
adjective: Bruneian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William E. TODD
embassy: Third Floor, Teck Guan Plaza, Jalan Sultan, Bandar Seri Begawan, BS8811
mailing address: PSC 470 (BSB), FPO AP 96507; P.O. Box 2991, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8675, Negara Brunei Darussalam
telephone: [673] 222-0384
FAX: [673] 222-5293

National holiday:
National Day, 23 February (1984); note - 1 January 1984 was the date of independence from the UK, 23 February 1984 was the date of independence from British protection

18 years of age for village elections; universal

Government type:
constitutional sultanate

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Angela SHIM
chancery: 3520 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 237-1838
FAX: [1] (202) 885-0560

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
Legislative Council met on 25 September 2004 for first time in 20 years with 21 members appointed by the Sultan; passed constitutional amendments calling for a 45-seat council with 15 elected members; Sultan dissolved council on 1 September 2005 and appointed a new council with 29 members as of 2 September 2005; council met in March 2006, in March 2007, and in April 2008.
elections: last held in March 1962 (date of next election NA)

Legal system:
based on English common law; for Muslims, Islamic Sharia law supersedes civil law in a number of areas; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
yellow with two diagonal bands of white (top, almost double width) and black starting from the upper hoist side; the national emblem in red is superimposed at the center; the emblem includes a swallow-tailed flag on top of a winged column within an upturned crescent above a scroll and flanked by two upraised hands

1 January 1984 (from UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Brunei Darussalam
conventional short form: Brunei
local long form: Negara Brunei Darussalam
local short form: Brunei

Political parties and leaders:
National Development Party or NDP [YASSIN Affendi]
note: Brunei National Solidarity Party or PPKB [Abdul LATIF bin Chuchu] and People's Awareness Party or PAKAR [Awang Haji MAIDIN bin Haji Ahmad] were deregistered; parties are small and have limited activity

name: Bandar Seri Begawan
geographic coordinates: 4 53 N, 114 56 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

29 September 1959 (some provisions suspended under a State of Emergency since December 1962, others since independence on 1 January 1984)

Executive branch:
chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967)
cabinet: Council of Cabinet Ministers appointed and presided over by the monarch; deals with executive matters; note - there is also a Religious Council (members appointed by the monarch) that advises on religious matters, a Privy Council (members appointed by the monarch) that deals with constitutional matters, and the Council of Succession (members appointed by the monarch) that determines the succession to the throne if the need arises
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary

Administrative divisions:
4 districts (daerah-daerah, singular - daerah); Belait, Brunei and Muara, Temburong, Tutong

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court - chief justice and judges are sworn in by monarch for three-year terms; Judicial Committee of Privy Council in London is final court of appeal for civil cases; Sharia courts deal with Islamic laws (2006)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Japan 32.8%, Indonesia 24.4%, Australia 13.4%, South Korea 12.2%, US 5.5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
2.924 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$7.101 billion (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$0 (2005)

Unemployment rate:
4% (2006)

Oil - exports:
200,000 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$54,100 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$2.38 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$20.65 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$17.18 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Bruneian dollars (BND) per US dollar - NA (2007), 1.5886 (2006), 1.6644 (2005), 1.6902 (2004), 1.7422 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
0.6% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$2.674 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
180,400 (2006 est.)

Imports - partners:
UK 46.4%, Singapore 19.5%, Malaysia 11.3% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.4% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 71.6%
services: 27.5% (2005 est.)

Oil - imports:
304 bbl/day (2005)

$6.767 billion f.o.b. (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
3.99 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
Bruneian dollar (BND)

Economy - overview:
Brunei has a small well-to-do economy that encompasses a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for just over half of GDP and more than 90% of exports. Per capita GDP is among the highest in Asia, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. The government provides for all medical services and free education through the university level and subsidizes rice and housing. Brunei's leaders are concerned that steadily increased integration in the world economy will undermine internal social cohesion. Plans for the future include upgrading the labor force, reducing unemployment, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors, and, in general, further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas.

Natural gas - exports:
9.4 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals

petroleum, petroleum refining, liquefied natural gas, construction

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
5.5% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$4.258 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
3.1 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$2 billion c.i.f. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
1.1 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 61.1%
services: 36% (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
390.8 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
13,200 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
crude oil, natural gas, refined products, clothing

Economic aid - recipient:
$770,000 (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
13.8 billion cu m (2006 est.)

revenues: $3.765 billion
expenditures: $4.815 billion (2004 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Oil - production:
180,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
199,532 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
79,200 (2007)

201,900 (1998)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 2 (transmitting on 18 different frequencies), shortwave 0 (British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) station transmits two FM signals with English and Nepali service) (2006)

329,000 (1998)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
339,800 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
4 (includes 2 UHF stations broadcasting a subscription service) (2006)

Telephone system:
general assessment: service throughout the country is excellent; international service is good to Southeast Asia, Middle East, Western Europe, and the US
domestic: every service available
international: country code - 673; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; the Asia-America Gateway submarine cable network, scheduled for completion by late 2008, will provide new links to Asia and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)

Internet hosts:
14,950 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

209 km (navigable by craft drawing less than 1.2 m) (2008)

gas 672 km; oil 463 km (2007)

Ports and terminals:
Lumut, Muara, Seria

3 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 8
by type: liquefied gas 8
foreign-owned: 1 (UK 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2007)

total: 3,650 km
paved: 2,819 km
unpaved: 831 km (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)

2 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.) for voluntary military service; non-Malays are ineligible to serve (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 108,356
females age 16-49: 110,153 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 91,297
females age 16-49: 93,228 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF): Royal Brunei Land Forces, Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Brunei Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 3,223
female: 3,182 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
4.5% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
Brunei and Malaysia agreed in September 2008 to resolve their offshore and deepwater seabed dispute, resume hydrocarbon exploration, and renounce any territorial claims on land; Brunei established an exclusive economic fishing zone encompassing Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands in 1984, but makes no public territorial claim to the offshore reefs; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" has eased tensions in the Spratly Islands but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants

Illicit drugs:
drug trafficking and illegally importing controlled substances are serious offenses in Brunei and carry a mandatory death penalty

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