Nestled amidst the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Kiribati stands as a testament to natural beauty and cultural diversity. As the year 2023 unfolds, we embark on a journey to uncover the economic luminaries who have secured their positions as the top 6 wealthiest individuals in Kiribati.
Against the backdrop of turquoise waters and lush landscapes, these individuals have risen to prominence through their entrepreneurial ventures and contributions to various sectors. Join us as we delve into the stories of these remarkable figures who personify the economic elite of Kiribati in 2023.
Top 6 Richest People in Kiribati for 2023
1. Anote Tong
Anote Tong is an I-Kiribati politician with Chinese heritage who served as President of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016. He won the election in July 2003 with a slim plurality of votes cast (47.4%) against his older brother, Dr. Harry Tong(43.5%) and the private lawyer Banuera Berina (9.1%).
The elections were contested by the opposition, due to allegations of electoral fraud but the High Court of Tarawa had confirmed that there was no fraud. He was re-elected on 17 October 2007 for a second term (64%). In 2012, Tong was reelected for a third term, although with a significantly smaller percentage than in the previous two elections.
2. Teburoro Tito
Teburoro Tito was the President and foreign minister of Kiribati from October 1, 1994 to March 28, 2003. He was elected for the first time in 1994. He was reelected in 1998 with 52% of the vote.
His main opponent was Harry Tong, who later ran against his brother, former President Anote Tong. Tito was reelected again in February 2003 with 50.4% of the vote. His main opponent was Taberannang Timeon.
Tito, however, was deposed by the Parliament in a no confidence vote just one month after his reelection. One of the main reasons for his ejection was his decision to lease an ATR-72-500 aircraft at the government’s expense; within six months this lease chewed up eight million USD.
3. Taneti Mamau
Taneti Mamau, born 16 September 1960 in Onotoa, is the President of Kiribati. He began his term on March 11, 2016.
He was the single opposition candidate for the 2016 presidential election, where he was supported by the new coalition of the Tobwaan Kiribati Party.
He received the support of the former president Teburoro Tito, the predecessor of Anote Tong (who was president for 12 years, the maximum authorised by the constitution). Mwamwau was re-elected a member of the Maneaba ni Maungatabu (parliament) in December 2015 in Onotoa, his hometown. Previously, he was the Finance Minister under President Tito.
4. Rimeta Beniamina
Rimeta Beniamina is an I-Kiribati politician and a former leader of the defunct United Coalition Party. Beniamina, who is from the island of Nikunau in southern Kiribati, is the son of former Vice President Beniamina Tinga.
Beniamina was one of three candidates nominated for President of Kiribati by parliament in November 2011.However, Beniamina lost to incumbent President Anote Tong on January 13, 2012, placing third in the presidential election.
In mid-October 2013, he was appointed to Tong’s government as Minister for Communications, Transport and Tourism, following the resignation of the incumbent Taberannang Timeon, who had been accused of receiving an excessive allowance payment.
5. Ieremia Tienang Tabai
Ieremia Tienang Tabai GCMG AO (modern orthography – Tabwai), born 16 December 1949, was the first Beretitenti(President) of the Republic of Kiribati. During his presidency he was described as being the most able leader of the Pacific island states.
He was born in Nonouti in 1949, and went to New Zealand to receive his education (St Andrew’s College in Christchurch and then going onto Victoria University in Wellington). He then returned to Kiribati and worked as an accountant. He was elected to the House of Assembly of the Gilbert Islands, representing Nonouti, in 1974.
Tabai returned to politics and was re-elected to the Kiribati parliament, again representing Nonouti, in 2007. He retained his seat in the 2011 and 2015-16 elections. He is aligned with the Boutokaan Te Koaua (Pillars of Truth) party.
He also serves as a secretary for Pacific Magazine.
6. Beniamina Tinga
Beniamina Tinga is a Kiribati politician. Tinga was sworn in as Vice President of Kiribati on 17 November 2000, following the death of his predecessor, Tewareka Tentoa, earlier in the month.
He served as Vice President under former President Teburoro Tito until 2003.
Tinga is from Nikunau. He is the father of 2012 presidential candidate, Rimeta Beniamina.
7. Tion Otang
Tion Otang is a politician of Kiribati. On March 28, 2003, Teburoro Tito, President of Kiribati was removed from power by a motion of no confidence in the House of Assembly of Kiribati. Otang became acting President as chairman of the Public Service Commission. He remained in power until July, 2003 when replaced by newly elected Anote Tong.
8. Teima Onorio
Teima Onorio is an I-Kiribati politician who has been a Member of the House of Assembly since 1998. She served as Vice President of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016.
Onorio served as Member of Parliament for the Arorae constituency from 1998 to 2002. She has also held the post of Minister for Internal and Social Affairs since 2012. She was Minister for Education, Youth and Sports Development from 2003 to 2007, before heading the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives from 2007 to 2008 and then returning to Education, Youth and Sports Development from 2008 to 2012.
As Vice-President of Kiribati, she has represented the Alliance of Small Island States at the United Nations, speaking on the topic of climate change.
President Anote Tong reappointed Onorio to a third consecutive term as Vice President on January 19, 2012, as part of his cabinet appointees. She was sworn into office for her third term on the 19th January 2012.
Conclusion: Champions of Prosperity in Kiribati’s Horizon
As the pages of 2023’s narrative unfold in Kiribati, the top 6 richest individuals emerge as champions of prosperity, shaping the nation’s economic landscape through their vision and dedication. Their journeys, from local beginnings to becoming economic powerhouses, reflect the spirit of innovation, resilience, and ambition.
Beyond their financial achievements, these figures play pivotal roles in community development, sustainability initiatives, and fostering growth in diverse industries. As Kiribati navigates the opportunities and challenges of the modern era, these prominent individuals stand as beacons of inspiration, embodying the potential for success and progress in this Pacific paradise.