Nation at a Glance - Brunei


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 the world.

Location: Southeastern Asia, along the northern coast of the island of Borneo, bordering the South China Sea and Malaysia

Border Countries: Malaysia 266 km

Total Area: 5,765 sq km Land: 5,265 sq km Water: 500 sq km

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid, rainy

Terrain: Flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, timber

Land use: Agricultural land: 2.5% arable land 0.8%; permanent crops 1.1%; permanent pasture 0.6% Forest: 71.8% Other: 25.7% (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups: Malay 65.7%, Chinese 10.3%, Other indigenous 3.4%, Other 20.6% (2011 est.)

Languages: Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects

Religions: Muslim (official) 78.8%, Christian 8.7%, Buddhist 7.8%, Other (includes indigenous beliefs) 4.7% (2011 est.)

Population: 436,620 (July 2016 est.)

Literacy: 96%; Male: 97.5%; Female: 94.5% (2015 est.)

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

Economy: Brunei is an energy-rich sultanate on the northern coast of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Brunei boasts a well-educated, largely English-speaking population; excellent infrastructure; and a stable government intent on attracting foreign investment. Crude oil and natural gas production account for approximately 65% of GDP and 95% of exports, with Japan as the primary export market. Per capita GDP is among the highest in the world, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic hydrocarbon production. Bruneian citizens pay no personal income taxes, and the government provides free medical services and free education through the university level. The Bruneian Government wants to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon exports to other industries such as information and communications technology and halal manufacturing, permissible under Islamic law. Brunei’s trade increased in 2016 and 2017, following its regional economic integration in the ASEAN Economic Community, and the expected ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Agriculture - products: Rice, vegetables, fruits; chickens, water buffalo, cattle, goats, eggs

Industries: Petroleum, petroleum refining, liquefied natural gas, construction, agriculture, transportation

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