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Fiji Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Suva on the island of Viti Levu (pop. 167 000)
Other Cities: Lautoka on the island of Viti Levu (pop. 30 000).

Local Time: UTC + 12h

Type: Parliamentary Democracy.
Independence (from U.K.): 10 October 1970.
Constitution: July 1997 (suspended May 2000, reaffirmed March 2001).

Location: Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean.
Area: 18 333 sq. km.
Terrain: Mostly mountains of volcanic origin or varied, dense tropical forest.

Tropical maritime; only slight seasonal temperature variation.

Nationality: Noun--Fiji Islander; adjective--Fiji
Population: 880 000.
GNI per capita PPP: $ 6 282 (year)
Ethnic groups: Indigenous Fijian 54%, Indo-Fijian 40%.
Religion: Christian 52% (Methodist and Roman Catholic), Hindu 33%, Muslim 7%.
Languages: English (official), Fijian, Hindi.
Literacy: 93%.


Currency: Fijian Dollar (FJD)

Natural resources: Timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Sugarcane, coconuts, cassava (tapioca), rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish.

Industries: Tourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber, small cottage industries.

Exports partners:
USA 23.7%, Australia 18.4%, UK 13.6%, Samoa 6%, Japan 4.8% (2003)

Imports partners: Australia 35.1%, Singapore 19.2%, New Zealand 17.2%, Japan 4.9% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Fiji

Fiji Government

Native Land Trust Board

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade

Diplomatic Missions
Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Embassy of the Republic of Fiji Islands in the U.S.

Fiji Missions Overseas

High Commission of the Republic of the Fiji Islands to New Zealand

Fiji Meteorological Service

Fiji Map

Map of Oceania and the Pacific Islands



Background:  Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as
a British colony.  Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups
in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by
the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the
islands by the British in the 19th century). A 1990 constitution favored
native Melanesian control of Fiji, but led to heavy Indian emigration;
the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that
Melanesians became the majority. Amendments enacted in 1997 made the
constitution more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted
in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a coup in May of 2000 ushered
in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held
in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government
and gave a mandate to the government of Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE.

Geography Fiji

Location:  Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about
two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand

Geographic coordinates:  18 00 S, 175 00 E

Map references:  Oceania

Area:  total: 18,270 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 18,270 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries:  0 km

Coastline:  1,129 km

Maritime claims:  measured from claimed archipelagic baselines territorial
sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM continental shelf: 200-m
depth or to the depth of exploitation; rectilinear shelf claim added

Climate:  tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain:  mostly mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point:
Tomanivi 1,324 m

Natural resources:  timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential,

Land use:  arable land: 11% permanent crops: 5% other: 84% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  30 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  cyclonic storms can occur from November to January

Environment - current issues:  deforestation; soil erosion

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered
Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban,
Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94 signed,
but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:  includes 332 islands of which approximately 110
are inhabited

People Fiji

Population:  856,346 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 32.5% (male 141,757; female 136,198) 15-64
years: 63.8% (male 273,658; female 273,100) 65 years and over: 3.7%
(male 14,648; female 16,985) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.41% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  23.2 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5.72 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -3.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.86
male(s)/female total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  13.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   71.11 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.83 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.07% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  85 (2000 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Fijian(s) adjective: Fijian

Ethnic groups:  Fijian 51% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian
admixture), Indian 44%, European, other Pacific Islanders, overseas
Chinese, and other 5% (1998 est.)

Religions:  Christian 52% (Methodist 37%, Roman Catholic 9%), Hindu 38%,
Muslim 8%, other 2% note: Fijians are mainly Christian, Indians are Hindu,
and there is a Muslim minority (1986)

Languages:  English (official), Fijian, Hindustani

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 92.5% male: 90% female: 95% (1999 est.)

Government Fiji

Country name:  conventional long form: Republic of the Fiji Islands
conventional short form: Fiji

Government type:  republic note: military coup leader Maj. Gen. Sitiveni
RABUKA formally declared Fiji a republic on 6 October 1987

Capital:  Suva

Administrative divisions:  4 divisions and 1 dependency*; Central,
Eastern, Northern, Rotuma*, Western

Independence:  10 October 1970 (from UK)

National holiday:  Independence Day, second Monday of October (1970)

Constitution:  promulgated on 25 July 1990 and amended on 25 July
1997 to allow nonethnic Fijians greater say in government and to make
multiparty government mandatory; entered into force 28 July 1998; note -
the May 1999 election was the first test of the amended constitution
and introduced open voting - not racially prescribed - for the first
time at the national level

Legal system:  based on British system

Suffrage:  21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Ratu Josefa ILOILOVATU
Uluivuda (since NA 2000); Vice President Jope SENILOLI (since NA 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE (since 10 September
2000); Deputy Prime Minister Ratu Epeli NAILATIKAU (since NA 2000)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the
members of Parliament and is responsible to Parliament; note - there
is also a Presidential Council that advises the president on matters of
national importance and a Great Council of Chiefs which consists of the
highest ranking members of the traditional chiefly system elections:
president elected by the Great Council of Chiefs for a five-year term;
prime minister appointed by the president election results: Ratu Josefa
ILOILOVATU Uluivuda elected president by the Great Council of Chiefs;
percent of vote - NA%

Legislative branch:  bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (34
seats; 24 appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs, nine appointed
by the president, and one appointed by the council of Rotuma) and the
House of Representatives (71 seats; 23 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 19
reserved for ethnic Indians, three reserved for other ethnic groups,
one reserved for the council of Rotuma constituency encompassing
the whole of Fiji, and 25 open seats; members serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 25 August, 2 September,
19 September 2001 (next to be held NA September 2006) election results:
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - FLP 34.8%, SDL 26%,
NFP 10.1%, MV 9.9%, independents 2.7%, other 16.5%; seats by party -
SDL 32, FLP 27, MV 6, NFP 1, independents 2, other 3

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president);
Court of Appeal; High Court; Magistrates' Courts

Political parties and leaders:  Bai Kei Viti Party or BKV [Ratu Tevita
MOMOEDONU]; Christian Democrat Alliance or VLV [leader NA]; Conservative
Alliance Party/Matanitu Vanua or MV [Ratu Rakuita VAKALALABURE]; Dodonu
Ni Taukei Party or DNT [leader NA]; Fiji Labor Party or FLP [Mahendra
CHAUDRHRY]; Fijian Association Party of FAP [Adi Kuini SPEED]; Fijian
Political Party or SVT (primarily Fijian) [Felipe BOLE]; General Voters
Party or GHP [leader NA]; Girmit Heritage Party or GHP [leader NA];
Justice and Freedom Party or AIM [leader NA]; Lio 'On Famor Rotuma
Party or LFR [leader NA]; National Federation Party or NFP (primarily
Indian) [Attar SINGH]; Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party or NVTLP
[Samisoni BOLATAGICI]; New Labor Unity Party or NLUP [Tupeni BABA];
Party of National Unity or PANU [leader NA]; Party of the Truth or POTT
[leader NA]; United Fiji Party/Sogosogo Duavata ni Lewenivanua or SDL
[Laisenia QARASE]; United General Party or UGP [Mick BEDDOES]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACP, AsDB, C, CCC, CP, ESCAP,
IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, OPCW, PCA, Sparteca,

Diplomatic representation in the US:   [1] (202) 337-1996 telephone:
Washington, DC 20007

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
(vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ronald K.  McMULLEN embassy: 31 Loftus Street,
Suva mailing address: P. O. Box 218, Suva telephone: [679] 314466 FAX:
[679] 300081

Flag description:  light blue with the flag of the UK in the upper
hoist-side quadrant and the Fijian shield centered on the outer half of
the flag; the shield depicts a yellow lion above a white field quartered
by the cross of Saint George featuring stalks of sugarcane, a palm tree,
bananas, and a white dove

Economy Fiji

Economy - overview:  Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish
resources, is one of the most developed of the Pacific island economies,
though still with a large subsistence sector. Sugar exports and a growing
tourist industry - with 300,000 to 400,000 tourists annually - are the
major sources of foreign exchange. Sugar processing makes up one-third
of industrial activity. Long-term problems include low investment and
uncertain property rights. The political turmoil in Fiji has had a severe
impact with the economy shrinking by 2.8% in 2000 and growing by only 1%
in 2001. The Fiji Visitor's Bureau expects visitor arrivals to reach
pre-coup levels during 2002. The government's ability to manage its
budget - which is expected to run a net deficit of 6% in 2002 - will
depend upon a return of political stability and investor confidence.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $4.4 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $5,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 17% industry: 25% services:
58% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  25.5% (1990-91)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  3% (2000 est.)

Labor force:  137,000 (1999)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture, including subsistence
agriculture 70% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:  7.6% (1999)

Budget:  revenues: $427.9 million expenditures: $531.4 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries:  tourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber,
small cottage industries

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  515 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 18.06% hydro: 81.94%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  478.95 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  sugarcane, coconuts, cassava (tapioca), rice,
sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish

Exports:  $572 million (f.o.b., 2000)

Exports - commodities:  sugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses,
coconut oil

Exports - partners:  Australia 24.9%, US 20.8%, UK 14.4%, Japan 5.1%,
other Pacific island countries 5.0%, NZ 3.6% (2000)

Imports:  $833 million (c.i.f., 2000)

Imports - commodities:  manufactured goods, machinery and transport
equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals

Imports - partners:  Australia 46.2%, NZ 13.1%, Singapore 6.6%, Japan
4.5%, Hong Kong 3.8%, US 3.2%, Taiwan 3.0% (2000)

Debt - external:  $162.7 million (1999)

Economic aid - recipient:  $40.3 million (1995)

Currency:  Fijian dollar (FJD)

Currency code:  FJD

Exchange rates:  Fijian dollars per US dollar - 2.2934 (January 2002),
2.2766 (2001), 2.1286 (2000), 1.9696 (1999), 1.9868 (1998), 1.4437 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Fiji

Telephones - main lines in use:  80,901 (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  5,200 (1997)

Telephone system:  general assessment: modern local, interisland,
and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose
telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio
communications center domestic:  as well as between NZ and Australia;
satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 13, FM 40, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios:  541,476 (1999)

Television broadcast stations:  NA

Televisions:  88,110 (1999)

Internet country code:  .fj

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2000)

Internet users:  7,500 (2000)

Transportation Fiji

Railways:  total: 597 km narrow gauge: 597 km 0.610-m gauge note:
belongs to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation (1995)

Highways:  total: 3,440 km paved: 1,692 km unpaved: 1,748 km (1996)

Waterways:  203 km note: 122 km navigable by motorized craft and
200-metric-ton barges

Ports and harbors:  Lambasa, Lautoka, Levuka, Malau, Savusavu, Suva, Vuda

Merchant marine:  total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 11,870
GRT/14,787 DWT ships by type: chemical tanker 2, passenger 1, petroleum
tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 1, includes some
foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 1,
Singapore 4 (2002 est.)

Airports:  27 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 3 over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m:
1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 24 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 5 under 914 m: 18 (2001)

Military Fiji

Military branches:  Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), includes
ground forces, naval division

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 231,649 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 127,384
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 9,471
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $35 million (FY00)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  2.2% (FY00)

Transnational Issues Fiji

Disputes - international:  none

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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