Similar to other Asian nations, Brunei became a British protectorate at the end of the 20th century, and remained so until 1984, when it gained its independence. Soon after attaining independence from Britain, Brunei joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Later that year, it became a United Nations member, as well. Brunei is an absolute monarchy, with the monarch acting as both chief of state and head of government. Since Brunei’s culture is deeply rooted in Malaysia’s, the official language spoken in the country is Malay.
Among other ASEAN countries, Brunei has one of the wealthiest economies and boasts the second highest gross domestic product per capita . The quality of life is one of the highest worldwide, its citizens enjoy heavily subsidized healthcare and a standard universal education. As a result, Bruneians have the second highestlife expectancy in the ASEAN region, and are amid the most well-educated and literate populations in the world.
The economy is mostly based on the exploitation of petroleum and natural gas; Brunei has vast reserves of the two commodities. The oil and gas revenues allowed the country to ensure its citizens a prosperous lifestyle, - today, Brunei’s average wealth per adult is set at about 43,000 U.S. dollars. The industry sector accounts for more than half of the nation’s GDP. Brunei has one of the lowest national debts worldwide, as well as one of the lowest inflation rates. Revenues from fuels and mining products constitute nearly all of the country’s exports and have generated trade surpluses for the past decade. Brunei’s main export partners are in Asia and include Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.