Coat of Arms
Sir Hassanal Bolkiah
»Bandar Seri Begawan
»Unitary Islamic absolute
»5,765 km2 (172nd)
» Per capita -$50,440
» Per capita -$39,355
»Brunei dollar (BND)
Brunei is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.
It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island’s territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei’s population was 408,786 in July 2012.
At the peak of Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is alleged to have had control over most regions of Borneo, including modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the Sulu archipelago off the northeast tip of Borneo, Seludong (modern-day Manila), and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo.
Brunei gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984. Economic growth during the 1990s and 2000s, averaging 56% from 1999 to 2008, transformed Brunei into an industrialised country.
It has developed wealth from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields. Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the South East Asia nations, after Singapore, and is classified as a “developed country”.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity.
The IMF estimated, in 2011, that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.
Brunei’s small, wealthy economy is a mixture of foreign and domestic entrepreneurship, government regulation, welfare measures, and village tradition. Crude oil and natural gas production account for about 90% of its GDP.
About 167,000 barrels (26,600 m3) of oil are produced every day, making Brunei the fourth-largest producer of oil in Southeast Asia.
It also produces approximately 25.3 million cubic metres (890×106 cu ft) of liquefied natural gas per day, making Brunei the ninth-largest exporter of the substance in the world.
BIMP-EAGA meeting in the office of Brunei Prime Minister on 25 April 2013. From left: Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Malaysian Representative and Filipino President Benigno Aquino III.
Brunei is part of the BIMP-EAGA, a subregional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia.
Substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic production. Most of these investments are made by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Finance.
The government provides for all medical services and subsidize rice and housing.
The national air carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines, is trying to develop Brunei as a modest hub for international travel between Europe and Australia/New Zealand. Central to this strategy is the position that the airline maintains at London Heathrow Airport.
It holds a daily slot at the highly capacity-controlled airport, which it serves from Bandar Seri Begawan via Dubai. The airline also has services to major Asian destinations including Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore and Manila.
Brunei depends heavily on imports such as agricultural products (e.g. rice, food products, livestock, etc.), motor cars and electrical products from other countries. Brunei imports 60% of its food requirements, of that amount, around 75% come from the ASEAN countries.
Top 5 Products imported by Brunei
- Gold (25%),
- Refined Petroleum (7.1%),
- Cars (6.5%),
- Iron Pipes (2.1%),
- Other Furniture (2.0%)
Top 5 Import origins of Brunei
- United Kingdom (27%),
- Singapore (17%),
- Malaysia (15%),
- China (11%),
- Japan (5.8%)
The small sultanate of Brunei almost looks like a geographic comma plunked between Sarawak and Sabah.
It certainly forms a conceptual one, because unless you’re a petroleum engineer when folks ask ‘Why go to Brunei?’ the answer is usually the travelling equivalent of a pause: transfer or stopover.
But there’s more here than passport queues. This quiet Darussalam (Arabic for ‘abode of peace’) has the largest oil fields in Southeast Asia, and because oil generates money, Brunei hasn’t turned its rainforests into palm plantations.
Old-growth greenery abounds, especially in verdant Ulu Temburong National Park.
This tranquil (sometimes somnolent) nation is the realisation of a particular vision: a strict, socially controlled religious state where happiness is found in pious worship and mass consumption. Visit and judge the results for yourself.
- Ulu Temburong National Park in Bangar
- The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan
- Bandar Seri Begawan has a couple of museums dedicated to the history of Brunei and that of the monarchy.