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Named after Captain COOK, who sighted them in 1770, the islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand; in 1965, residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. The emigration of skilled workers to New Zealand and government deficits are continuing problems.


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Economy - overview
Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, the limited size of domestic markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture, employing more than one-quarter of the working population, provides the economic base with major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit. Black pearls are the Cook Islands' leading export. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are offset by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the country lived beyond its means, maintaining a bloated public service and accumulating a large foreign debt. Subsequent reforms, including the sale of state assets, the strengthening of economic management, the encouragement of tourism, and a debt restructuring agreement, have rekindled investment and growth.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 215
$183.2 million (2005 est.)

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$183.2 million (2005 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 196
0.1% (2005 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 117
$9,100 (2005 est.)

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 11.7%
Industry 9.9%
Services 78.5% (2008 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 217
6,820 (2001)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 29%
Industry 15%
Services 56% (1995)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 135
13.1% (2005)

Population below poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% NA%
Highest 10% NA%

Revenues $70.95 million
Expenditures $69.05 million (FY05/06)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 52
38.7% of GDP (FY05/06)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 34
1% of GDP (FY05/06)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 26
2.1% (2007 est.)

Agriculture - products
Copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee; pigs, poultry

Fruit processing, tourism, fishing, clothing, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 137
1% (2002)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 206
31 million kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 208
29.76 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 164
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 197
1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 148
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 200
464.3 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 119
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 168
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 166
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 82
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 176
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 165
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 58
$26.67 million (2005)

Exports World Ranking: 216
$5.222 million (2005)

Exports - commodities
Copra, papayas, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing

Imports World Ranking: 212
$81.04 million (2005)

Imports - commodities
Foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods

Debt - external World Ranking: 186
$141 million (1996 est.)

Exchange rates
NZ dollars (NZD) per US dollar -
1.2658 (2011)
1.3874 (2010)
1.6002 (2009)
1.4151 (2008)
1.3811 (2007)

Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March


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  Cook Islands [ New Zealand ] (Free Association):

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