WHAT IS THE Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund

The Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund is a sovereign wealth fund of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati.

BREAKING DOWN Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund

The Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund is a fund that was established in 1956. The island of Kiribati created the fund in order to manage earnings stemming from the county's phosphate mining industry, which at the time of establishment accounted for over half of Kiribati's government revenue and was the country's largest export. By the late 1970s the country had exhausted its phosphate deposits, and the per capita GDP was cut in half between 1979 and 1981. Since that time, Kiribati has been largely dependent on foreign aid, tourism and the sale of fishing rights.

Currently, the Republic of Kiribati is an impoverished country, with the 2010 per capita value of the gross national product at $1,420 U.S. dollars, making it one of the poorest countries in Oceania. The island has just over 110,000 permanent inhabitants, but the remoteness and scarcity of natural resources force the republic to depend almost entirely on outside support.

History of Kiribati

The Republic of Kiribati was a British protectorate beginning in 1892, and was then known as the Gilbert Islands. The United States also controlled what is now part of Kiribati, previously known as the Line Islands. The country gained its independence from Great Britain in 1979, and was recognized by the United States in 1983. Upon recognition from the United States, the Republic of Kiribati received Teraina, Tabuaeran, Kiritimati, Malden Island, Starbuck Island, Caroline Islands, Vostok Islands and Flint Island, all of which were previously part of  the Line Islands.

The area was an incredibly active part of the Pacific theater during World War Two. The Japanese occupied Tarawa Atoll and other islands from 1941 to 1942, and the Battle of Tarawa, which took place in November 1943, was one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. Marine Corps history. After recognition from the United States, the Republic of Kiribati received Canton Island, Enderbury Island, Birnie Island, McKean Island, Rawaki, Manra, Orona, and Nikumaroro from the Phoenix Islands; and as previously mentioned Teraina, Tabuaeran, Kiritimati, Malden Island, Starbuck Island, Caroline Islands, Vostok Islands and Flint Island from the Line Islands. The country is right now at the center of the global warming crisis, and is one of the world’s lowest-lying countries. The country is considering options to evacuate all residents as they expect the rising sea levels will soon cover the islands completely.