1 Jul 2002

Plea for outer island development in Kiribati

3:51 pm on 1 July 2002

The President of Kiribati, Teburoro Tito, has urged the leaders of the island councils to find ways of improving the living standards in the outer islands to stop the steady drift of people into the capital.

President Tito made the calls when he officially opened the meeting of the heads of local government in Tarawa.

It echoed rising concerns about overcrowding, as outer islanders arrive looking for better lifestyle and opportunities.

Mr Tito said more than 36 thousand of Kiribati's 85 thousand people now live on South Tarawa and social problems are now acute.

Health authorities and police have reported that prostitution and violence is on the increase.

President Tito says people are being encouraged to migrate to the capital because of a lack of opportunities in the outer islands, so leaders must work together to start up projects that will attract these people.

He says that most people would prefer to run their own businesses in the outer islands rather than live on the very populated islands.