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Fiji, See : Flags, Maps

A Racial Study of the Fijians , Norman E. Gabel

Fiji (Australia-Oceania)

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 but in January 2007 became interim prime minister. Since taking power BAINIMARAMA has neutralized his opponents, crippled Fiji's democratic institutions, and refused to hold elections.

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: 18,274 sq km country comparison to the world: 156 land: 18,274 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)

Total renewable water resources:

28.6 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.07 cu km/yr (14%/14%/71%)

per capita: 82 cu m/yr (2000)

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, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited

People ::Fiji


875,983 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 158

Age structure:

0-14 years: 30.3% (male 146,327/female 140,327)

15-64 years: 64.9% (male 307,077/female 305,886)

65 years and over: 4.8% (male 20,300/female 24,803) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 26.6 years

male: 26.4 years

female: 26.8 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.827% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 136

Birth rate:

21.52 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 83

Death rate:

5.88 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 170

Net migration rate:

-7.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 209


urban population: 52% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 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: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 11.28 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 146 male: 12.42 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 10.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 71.03 years country comparison to the world: 136 male: 68.46 years

female: 73.73 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.65 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 80

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 137

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

600 (2003 est.) country comparison to the world: 147

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

fewer than 200 (2003 est.) country comparison to the world: 114


noun: Fijian(s)

adjective: Fijian

Ethnic groups:

Fijian 57.3% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture),
Indian 37.6%, Rotuman 1.2%, other 3.9% (European, other Pacific
Islanders, Chinese) (2007 census)


Christian 64.5% (Methodist 34.6%, Roman Catholic 9.1%, Assembly of
God 5.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.9%, Anglican 0.8%, other 10.4%),
Hindu 27.9%, Muslim 6.3%, Sikh 0.3%, other or unspecified 0.3%, none
0.7% (2007 census)


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.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 13 years (2005)

Education expenditures:

6.2% of GDP (2004) country comparison to the world: 33

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)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins fourth Sunday in October; ends last Sunday in March

Administrative divisions:

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


10 October 1970 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, second Monday of October (1970)


enacted on 25 July 1997; effective on 28 July 1998; note - it encourages multiculturalism and makes multiparty government mandatory

Legal system:

based on British system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ratu Epeli NAILATIKAU (since 30 July 2009)

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; former President ILOILOVATU 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 responsible to Parliament; note - coup leader Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA has appointed an interim cabinet (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: under the constitution, president elected by the Great Council of Chiefs for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); in 2007 the Great Council of Chiefs was suspended from its role in electing the president; prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Ratu Epeli NAILATIKAU was appointed by Chief Justice Anthony GATES

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (32 seats; 14 members 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 members 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 on 6-13 May 2006 (next to be held in 2011)

election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - SDL 44.6%, FLP 39.2%, UPP 0.8%, independents 4.9%, other 10.5%; 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 [Sitiveni RABUKA] (primarily
Fijian), 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 [Pramond RAE] (primarily Indian);
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:

Group Against Racial Discrimination or GARD [Dr. Anirudk SINGH] (for restoration of a democratic government); Viti Landowners Association

International organization participation:

ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C (suspended), CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt,

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Winston THOMPSON

chancery: 2000 M Street, NW, Suite 710, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 466-8320
FAX: [1] (202) 466-8325

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador C. Steven MCGANN

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 blue symbolizes the Pacific ocean and the Union Jack reflects the links with Great Britain; the shield - taken from Fiji's coat of arms - depicts a yellow lion above a white field quartered by the cross of Saint George; the four quarters depict stalks of sugarcane, a palm tree, bananas, and a white dove

National anthem:

name: "God Bless Fiji"

lyrics/music: Michael Francis Alexander PRESCOTT/C. Austin MILES (adapted by Michael Francis Alexander PRESCOTT)

note: adopted 1970; the anthem is known in Fijian as "Meda Dau Doka" (Let Us Show Pride); adapted from the hymn, "Dwelling in Beulah Land," the anthem's English lyrics are generally sung, although they differ in meaning from the official Fijian lyrics

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 400,000 to 500,000 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 December 2006 coup and is facing an uncertain recovery time. In 2007 tourist arrivals were down almost 6%, with substantial job losses in the service sector, and GDP dipped. The coup has created a difficult business climate. The EU has suspended all aid until the interim government takes steps toward new elections. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the government's inability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have decreased significantly. Fiji's current account deficit reached 23% of GDP in 2006.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$3.792 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 169 $3.725 billion (2009 est.)

$3.821 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$3.154 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

1.8% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 156 -2.5% (2009 est.)

-0.1% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$4,300 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 155 $4,300 (2009 est.)

$4,400 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 8.9%

industry: 13.5%

services: 77.6% (2004 est.)

Labor force:

335,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 161

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 70%

industry and services: 30% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:

7.6% (1999) country comparison to the world: 81

Population below poverty line:
25.5% (FY90/91)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.8% (2007) country comparison to the world: 138

Central bank discount rate:

3% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 70 6.32% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

7.85% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 119 7.97% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$748 million (31 December 2008) country comparison to the world: 147 $1.042 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of broad money:

$NA (31 December 2009)

$1.76 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:

$NA (31 December 2008)

$1.799 billion (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$NA (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 104 $568.2 million (31 December 2008)

$522.2 million (31 December 2007)

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:

928 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 146

Electricity - consumption:

863 million kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 147

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

0 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 174

Oil - consumption:

11,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 146

Oil - exports:

2,455 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 110

Oil - imports:

20,340 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 111

Oil - proved reserves:

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 179

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 195

Natural gas - consumption:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 184

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 179

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 179

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 179

Current account balance:

-$507 million (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 117


$1.202 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 147

Exports - commodities:

sugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses, coconut oil

Exports - partners:

US 15.21%, Australia 12.11%, UK 11.23%, Samoa 5.39%, Tonga 4.74%,
Japan 4.44% (2009)


$3.12 billion (2006) country comparison to the world: 137

Imports - commodities:

manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals

Imports - partners:

Singapore 27.27%, Australia 19.36%, NZ 15.15%, China 6.92%, India 5.23%, Thailand 4.25% (2009)

Debt - external:

$127 million (2004 est.) country comparison to the world: 179

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Exchange rates:

Fijian dollars (FJD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 1.7313 (2006), 1.691 (2005), 1.7331 (2004), 1.8958 (2003)

Communications ::Fiji

Telephones - main lines in use:

136,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 135

Telephones - mobile cellular:

640,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 156

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: telephone or radio telephone links to almost all inhabited islands; most towns and large villages have automatic telephone exchanges and direct dialing; combined fixed and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 80 per 100 persons

international: country code - 679; access to important cable links between US and Canada as well as between NZ and Australia; satellite earth stations - 2 Inmarsat (Pacific Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast media:

Fiji TV, a publicly-traded company, operates a free-to-air channel as well as the Sky Fiji and Sky Pacific multi-channel pay-TV services; state-owned commercial company, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Ltd, operates 6 radio stations - 2 public broadcasters and 4 commercial broadcasters with multiple repeaters; 5 radio stations with repeaters operated by Communications Fiji, Ltd; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2009)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

17,088 (2010) country comparison to the world: 113

Internet users:

114,200 (2009) country comparison to the world: 157

Transportation ::Fiji


28 (2010) country comparison to the world: 118

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 4

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 24

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 19 (2010)


total: 597 km country comparison to the world: 110 narrow gauge: 597 km 0.600-m gauge

note: belongs to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation; used to haul sugarcane during the harvest season, which runs from May to December (2008)


total: 3,440 km country comparison to the world: 162 paved: 1,692 km

unpaved: 1,748 km (2000)


203 km country comparison to the world: 98 note: 122 km navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges (2008)

Merchant marine:

total: 10 country comparison to the world: 112 by type: passenger 4, passenger/cargo 4, roll on/roll off 2

foreign-owned: 2 (Australia 2) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Lautoka, Levuka, Suva

Military ::Fiji

Military branches:

Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF): Land Forces, Naval Forces (2009)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2010)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 248,020

females age 16-49: 243,468 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 195,414

females age 16-49: 206,386 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 9,131

female: 8,776 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

1.9% of GDP (2009) country comparison to the world: 80

Transnational Issues ::Fiji

Disputes - international:


Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Fiji is a source country for children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and a destination country for a small number of women from China and India trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Fiji does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government has demonstrated no action to investigate or prosecute traffickers, assist victims, take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, or support any anti-trafficking information or education campaigns; Fiji has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2009)



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