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.



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

Geographic coordinates

4 30 N, 114 40 E

Map references

Southeast Asia


total: 5,765 sq km
land: 5,265 sq km
water: 500 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Delaware

Land boundaries

total: 266 km
border countries (1): Malaysia 266 km


161 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm or to median line


tropical; hot, humid, rainy


flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west


mean elevation: 478 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Bukit Pagon 1,850 m

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.)

Irrigated land

10 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

typhoons, earthquakes, and severe flooding are rare

Environment - current issues

seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; almost an enclave within Malaysia

People and Society


436,620 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Bruneian(s)
adjective: Bruneian

Ethnic groups

Malay 65.7%, Chinese 10.3%, other indigenous 3.4%, other 20.6% (2011 est.)


Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects


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

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.46% (male 52,785/female 49,638)
15-24 years: 17.11% (male 37,103/female 37,603)
25-54 years: 46.8% (male 98,152/female 106,206)
55-64 years: 8.09% (male 18,043/female 17,278)
65 years and over: 4.54% (male 9,635/female 10,177) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 38%
youth dependency ratio: 31.9%
elderly dependency ratio: 6.1%
potential support ratio: 16.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 29.9 years
male: 29.5 years
female: 30.3 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

1.6% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

17.2 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

3.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

2.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 77.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: -1.79% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (capital) 241,000
note: the boundaries of the capital city were expanded in 2007, greatly increasing the city area; the population of the capital increased tenfold (2011)

Health expenditures

2.6% of GDP (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

23 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 9.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.2 years
male: 74.8 years
female: 79.6 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.79 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Physicians density

1.44 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

2.8 beds/1,000 population (2012)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate

18.6% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

9.6% (2009)

Education expenditures

3.7% of GDP (2016)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%
male: 97.5%
female: 94.5% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2014)


Country name

conventional long form: Brunei Darussalam
conventional short form: Brunei
local long form: Negara Brunei Darussalam
local short form: Brunei
etymology: derivation of the name is unclear; according to legend, MUHAMMAD SHAH, who would become the first sultan of Brunei, upon discovering what would become Brunei exclaimed "Baru nah," which roughly translates as "there" or "that's it"

Government type

absolute monarchy or sultanate (locally known as Malay Islamic Monarchy)


name: Bandar Seri Begawan
geographic coordinates: 4 53 N, 114 56 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

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


1 January 1984 (from the UK)

National holiday

National Day, 23 February (1984); note - 1 January 1984 was the date of independence from the UK, 23 February 1984 was the date of independence from British protection


drafted 1954 to 1959, signed 29 September 1959; amended 1984, 2004, 2011; note - some constitutional provisions suspended since 1962 under a State of Emergency, others suspended since independence in 1984 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system based on English common law and Islamic law; note - in May 2014, the first phase of a sharia-based penal codes was instituted, which applies to Muslims and non-Muslims and exists in parallel to the existing common law-based code

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Brunei
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 12 years


18 years of age for village elections; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967); note - the monarch is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: Sultan and Prime Minister Sir HASSANAL Bolkiah (since 5 October 1967)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed and presided over by the monarch; note - 4 additional advisory councils appointed by the monarch are the Religious Council, Privy Council for constitutional issues, Council of Succession, and Legislative Council
elections/appointments: none; the monarchy is hereditary

Legislative branch

description: Legislative Council or Majlis Mesyuarat Negara Brunei (36 seats; members appointed by the sultan including 3 ex-officio members - the speaker and first and second secretaries; meets annually for approximately two weeks)
elections: last held in March 1962 (date of next election NA)

Judicial branch

highest resident court(s): Supreme Court (consists of Court of Appeal and High Court, each with a chief justice and 2 judges); Sharia Court of Appeal (consists of judges appointed by the monarch); note - Brunei has a dual judicial system of secular and sharia (religious) courts; the Judicial Committee of Privy Council in London serves as the final appellate court for civil cases only
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch to serve until age 65, and older if approved by the monarch; Sharia Court of Appeal judges appointed by the monarch; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Intermediate Court; Magistrate's Courts; Juvenile Court; small claims courts; lower sharia courts

Political parties and leaders

National Development Party or NDP [YASSIN Affendi]
note: Brunei National Solidarity Party or PPKB [Abdul LATIF bin Chuchu] and People's Awareness Party or PAKAR [Awang Haji MAIDIN bin Haji Ahmad] were deregistered in 2007; parties are small and have limited activity

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Serbini ALI (since 28 January 2016)
chancery: 3520 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 237-1838
FAX: [1] (202) 885-0560
consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Craig B. ALLEN (since 9 March 2015)
embassy: Simpang 336-52-16-9, Jalan Datu, Bandar Seri Begawan, BC4115
mailing address: Unit 4280, Box 40, FPO AP 96507; P.O. Box 2991, Bandar Seri Begawan BS8675, Negara Brunei Darussalam
telephone: [673] 238-4616
FAX: [673] 238-4604

National symbol(s)

royal parasol; national colors: yellow, white, black

Flag description

yellow with two diagonal bands of white (top, almost double width) and black starting from the upper hoist side; the national emblem in red is superimposed at the center; yellow is the color of royalty and symbolizes the sultanate; the white and black bands denote Brunei's chief ministers; the emblem includes five main components: a swallow-tailed flag, the royal umbrella representing the monarchy, the wings of four feathers symbolizing justice, tranquility, prosperity, and peace, the two upraised hands signifying the government's pledge to preserve and promote the welfare of the people, and the crescent moon denoting Islam, the state religion; the state motto "Always render service with God's guidance" appears in yellow Arabic script on the crescent; a ribbon below the crescent reads "Brunei, the Abode of Peace"

National anthem

name: "Allah Peliharakan Sultan" (God Bless His Majesty)
lyrics/music: Pengiran Haji Mohamed YUSUF bin Pengiran Abdul Rahim/Awang Haji BESAR bin Sagap
note: adopted 1951


Economy - overview

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

Per capita GDP is among the highest in the world, and substantial income from overseas investment supplements income from domestic hydrocarbon production. Bruneian citizens do not pay personal income taxes, and the government provides free medical service

The Bruneian Government wants to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon exports to other industries such as information and communications technology and halal manufacturing. Brunei’s trade in 2016 is set to increase following its regional economic i

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$33.73 billion (2016 est.)
$33.61 billion (2015 est.)
$33.79 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$10.46 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

0.4% (2016 est.)
-0.6% (2015 est.)
-2.3% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$79,700 (2016 est.)
$80,600 (2015 est.)
$82,000 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

44.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
55.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
60.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 21.7%
government consumption: 23.6%
investment in fixed capital: 37.6%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 50.8%
imports of goods and services: -33.7% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.1%
industry: 60.4%
services: 38.5% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

rice, vegetables, fruits; chickens, water buffalo, cattle, goats, eggs


petroleum, petroleum refining, liquefied natural gas, construction, agriculture, transportation

Industrial production growth rate

1% (2016 est.)

Labor force

203,600 (2014 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 4.2%
industry: 62.8%
services: 33% (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate

6.9% (2014 est.)
9.3% (2011 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $2.958 billion
expenditures: $4.618 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

28.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-15.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.2% (2016 est.)
-0.4% (2015 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

5.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
5.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$3.467 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.31 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$10.29 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.16 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$6.909 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.323 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Current account balance

$452 million (2016 est.)
$1.556 billion (2015 est.)


$5.315 billion (2016 est.)
$7.235 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

mineral fuels, organic chemicals

Exports - partners

Japan 35.9%, South Korea 14.8%, Thailand 10.8%, India 9.8%, NZ 5.6%, Australia 5% (2015)


$3.648 billion (2016 est.)
$3.359 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and mechanical appliance parts, mineral fuels, motor vehicles, electric machinery

Imports - partners

Singapore 27.9%, China 25.3%, Malaysia 12.4%, UK 10.6%, South Korea 4.9% (2015)

Debt - external

$0 (2014)
$0 (2013)
note: public external debt only; private external debt unavailable

Exchange rates

Bruneian dollars (BND) per US dollar -
1.386 (2016 est.)
1.3749 (2015 est.)
1.3749 (2014 est.)
1.267 (2013 est.)
1.25 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 104,788
electrification - total population: 76%
electrification - urban areas: 79%
electrification - rural areas: 67% (2012)

Electricity - production

4.2 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

3.766 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

777,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)

Crude oil - production

115,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

117,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

1.1 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

10,910 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

18,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

189.1 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

6,099 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

10.7 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

2.4 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

8.3 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

390.8 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

8.4 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 38,384
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 463,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 108 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: service throughout the country is good; international service is good to Southeast Asia, Middle East, Western Europe, and the US
domestic: every service available
international: country code - 673; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; the Asia-America Gateway submarine cable network provides new links to Asia and the US; satellite ea (2015)

Broadcast media

state-controlled Radio Television Brunei (RTB) operates 5 channels; 3 Malaysian TV stations are available; foreign TV broadcasts are available via satellite and cable systems; RTB operates 5 radio networks and broadcasts on multiple frequencies; British F (2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 306,000
percent of population: 71.2% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 10
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,150,003
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 115.147 million mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

V8 (2016)


1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)


3 (2013)


condensate 33 km; condensate/gas 86 km; gas 628 km; oil 492 km (2013)


total: 3,029 km
paved: 2,425 km
unpaved: 604 km (2010)


209 km (navigable by craft drawing less than 1.2 m; the Belait, Brunei, and Tutong rivers are major transport links) (2012)

Merchant marine

total: 9
by type: chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 8
foreign-owned: 2 (UK 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Muara
oil terminal(s): Lumut, Seria
LNG terminal (export): Lumut


Military branches

Royal Brunei Armed Forces: Royal Brunei Land Forces, Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Brunei Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for voluntary military service; non-Malays are ineligible to serve; recruits from the army, navy, and air force all undergo 43-week initial training (2013)

Military expenditures

2.43% of GDP (2012)
2.54% of GDP (2011)
2.43% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

per Letters of Exchange signed in 2009, Malaysia in 2010 ceded two hydrocarbon concession blocks to Brunei in exchange for Brunei's sultan dropping claims to the Limbang corridor, which divides Brunei; nonetheless, Brunei claims a maritime boundary extending as far as a median with Vietnam, thus asserting an implicit claim to Louisa Reef

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 20,524 (2015); note - thousands of stateless persons, often ethnic Chinese, are permanent residents and their families have lived in Brunei for generations; obtaining citizenship is difficult and requires individuals to pass rigorous tests on Malay culture, customs, and language; stateless residents receive an International Certificate of Identity, which enables them to travel overseas; the government is considering changing the law prohibiting non-Bruneians, including stateless permanent residents, from owning land

Illicit drugs

drug trafficking and illegally importing controlled substances are serious offenses in Brunei and carry a mandatory death penalty