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Flag of Fiji
Map of Fiji
Introduction Fiji
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). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji, led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Re-elected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president. In January 2007, BAINIMARAMA was appointed interim prime minister.
Geography Fiji
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:
total: 18,270 sq km
land: 18,270 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries:
0 km
1,129 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic straight 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
tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation
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, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 10.95%
permanent crops: 4.65%
other: 84.4% (2005)
Irrigated land:
30 sq km (2003)
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, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited
People Fiji
905,949 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 31.1% (male 143,847/female 138,061)
15-64 years: 64.6% (male 293,072/female 292,312)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 17,583/female 21,074) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 24.6 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 25 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.4% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
22.55 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
5.65 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-2.94 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.63 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.82 years
male: 67.32 years
female: 72.45 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.73 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
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.)
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
English (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 95.5%
female: 91.9% (2003 est.)
Government Fiji
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of the Fiji Islands
conventional short form: Fiji
local long form: Republic of the Fiji Islands/Matanitu ko Viti
local short form: Fiji/Viti
Government type:
name: Suva (on Viti Levu)
geographic coordinates: 18 08 S, 178 25 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
4 divisions and 1 dependency*; Central, Eastern, Northern, Rotuma*, Western
10 October 1970 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, second Monday of October (1970)
enacted on 25 July 1997 to encourage multiculturalism and make multiparty government mandatory; effective 28 July 1998
Legal system:
based on British system
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ratu Josefa ILOILOVATU Uluivuda (since 18 July 2000); note - ILOILOVATU was reaffirmed as president by the Great Council of Chiefs in a statement issued on 22 December, and reappointed by the coup leader Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA in January 2007
head of government: Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE (since 10 September 2000); note - although QARASE is still the legal prime minister, he has been confined to his home island; the president appointed Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA interim prime minister under the military regime
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament and is responsible to Parliament; note - coup leader Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA has appointed an interim cabinet
elections: president elected by the Great Council of Chiefs for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); prime minister appointed by the president; election last held 8 March 2006
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 (32 seats; 14 appointed by the president on the advice of the Great Council of Chiefs, 9 appointed by the president on the advice of the Prime Minister, 8 on the advice of the Opposition Leader, and 1 appointed on the advice of the council of Rotuma) and the House of Representatives (71 seats; 23 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 19 reserved for ethnic Indians, 3 reserved for other ethnic groups, 1 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 6-13 May 2006 (next to be held 2011)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - SDL 44.59%, FLP 39.18%, UPP .84%, independents 4.89%; seats by party - SDL 36, FLP 31, UPP 2, independents 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); Court of Appeal; High Court; Magistrates' Courts
Political parties and leaders:
Dodonu Ni Taukei Party or DNT [Fereti S. DEWA]; Fiji Democratic Party or FDP [Filipe BOLE] (a merger of the Christian Democrat Alliance or VLV [Poesci Waqalevu BUNE], Fijian Association Party or FAP, Fijian Political Party or SVT (primarily Fijian) [Sitiveni RABUKA], and New Labor Unity Party or NLUP [Ofa SWANN]); Fiji Labor Party or FLP [Mahendra CHAUDHRY]; General Voters Party or GVP (became part of United General Party); Girmit Heritage Party or GHP; Justice and Freedom Party or AIM; Lio 'On Famor Rotuma Party or LFR; National Federation Party or NFP (primarily Indian) [Pramond RAE]; Nationalist Vanua Takolavo Party or NVTLP [Saula TELAWA]; Party of National Unity or PANU [Ponipate LESAVUA]; Party of the Truth or POTT; United Fiji Party/Sogosogo Duavata ni Lewenivanua or SDL [Laisenia QARASE]; United Peoples Party or UPP [Millis Mick BEDDOES]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jesoni VITUSAGAVULU
chancery: 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 240, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 337-8320
FAX: [1] (202) 337-1996
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Larry Miles DINGER
embassy: 31 Loftus Street, Suva
mailing address: P. O. Box 218, Suva
telephone: [679] 331-4466
FAX: [679] 330-0081
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, remittances from Fijians working abroad, and a growing tourist industry - with 300,000 to 400,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange. Fiji's sugar has special access to European Union markets, but will be harmed by the EU's decision to cut sugar subsidies. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity but is not efficient. Fiji's tourism industry was damaged by the 2006 coup and is facing an uncertain recovery time. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the government's ability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have increased significantly.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$5.504 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.038 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.7% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,100 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8.9%
industry: 13.5%
services: 77.6% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
137,000 (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 70%
industry and services: 30% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.6% (1999)
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% (2005)
revenues: $720.5 million
expenditures: $728.3 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, coconuts, cassava (tapioca), rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish
tourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber, small cottage industries
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
817 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 18.5%
hydro: 81.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
759.8 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
10,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$-465.8 million
$719.6 million f.o.b. (2005)
Exports - commodities:
sugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses, coconut oil
Exports - partners:
US 19.7%, Australia 17%, UK 12.3%, Japan 5.4%, Samoa 4.1% (2005)
$1.462 billion c.i.f. (2005)
Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Singapore 27.5%, Australia 23.7%, NZ 19%, Thailand 4.5% (2005)
Debt - external:
$127 million (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$63.9 million (2004)
Currency (code):
Fijian dollar (FJD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Fijian dollars per US dollar - 1.691 (2005), 1.7331 (2004), 1.8958 (2003), 2.1869 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Fiji
Telephones - main lines in use:
102,000 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
142,200 (2004)
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: NA
international: country code - 679; access to important cable links between US and Canada as well as between NZ and Australia; 2 satellite earth stations - 2 INMARSAT (Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 13, FM 40, shortwave 0 (1998)
541,476 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
88,110 (1999)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
8,987 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
61,000 (2004)
Transportation Fiji
28 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 25
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 18 (2006)
total: 597 km
narrow gauge: 597 km 0.600-m gauge
note: belongs to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation; used to haul sugarcane during harvest season (May to December) (2005)
total: 3,440 km
paved: 1,692 km
unpaved: 1,748 km (1999)
203 km
note: 122 km navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges (2004)
Merchant marine:
total: 7 ships (1000 GRT or over) 15,867 GRT/8,432 DWT
by type: passenger 3, passenger/cargo 2, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Australia 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Lambasa, Lautoka, Suva
Military Fiji
Military branches:
Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF): Land Forces, Naval Forces (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 215,104
females age 18-49: 212,739 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 163,960
females age 18-49: 178,714 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 9,266
females age 18-49: 8,916 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$36 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.2% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Fiji
Disputes - international:

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007