Fiji

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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 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Reelected 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. Following years of political turmoil, long-delayed legislative elections were held in September 2014 that were deemed "credible" by international observers and that resulted in BAINIMARAMA being reelected.

Geography

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

Area 157/257

total: 18,274 sq km

land: 18,274 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

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

Climate

tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

mostly mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation

mean elevation:

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

agricultural land: 23.3%

arable land 9%; permanent crops 4.7%; permanent pasture 9.6%

forest: 55.7%

other: 21% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

28.55 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.08 cu km/yr (30%/11%/59%)

per capita: 100.1 cu m/yr (2005)

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 and Society

Nationality

noun: Fijian(s)

adjective: Fijian

Ethnic groups

iTaukei 56.8% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indian 37.5%, Rotuman 1.2%, other 4.5% (European, part European, other Pacific Islanders, Chinese)

note: a 2010 law replaces 'Fijian' with 'iTuakei' when referring to the original and native settlers of Fiji (2007 est.)

Languages

English (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani

Religions

Protestant 45% (Methodist 34.6%, Assembly of God 5.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.9%, and Anglican 0.8%), Hindu 27.9%, other Christian 10.4%, Roman Catholic 9.1%, Muslim 6.3%, Sikh 0.3%, other 0.3%, none 0.8% (2007 est.)

Population 162/238

909,389 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 28.03% (male 130,251/female 124,633)

15-24 years: 16.73% (male 77,716/female 74,449)

25-54 years: 41.12% (male 191,393/female 182,571)

55-64 years: 8.04% (male 37,019/female 36,141)

65 years and over: 6.07% (male 25,386/female 29,830) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.8%

youth dependency ratio: 43.9%

elderly dependency ratio: 8.9%

potential support ratio: 11.2% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 28.2 years

male: 28 years

female: 28.4 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 149/233

0.67% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 88/224

19.43 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 163/225

6.04 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 203/222

-6.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 53.7% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.45% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

SUVA (capital) 176,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 129/184

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

Infant mortality rate 138/224

total: 9.94 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 10.97 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 8.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 141/224

total population: 72.43 years

male: 69.79 years

female: 75.2 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 81/224

2.47 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 160/191

4.1% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.43 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density

2 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99.5% of population

rural: 91.2% of population

total: 95.7% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.5% of population

rural: 8.8% of population

total: 4.3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 93.4% of population

rural: 88.4% of population

total: 91.1% of population

unimproved:

urban: 6.6% of population

rural: 11.6% of population

total: 8.9% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.13% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

700 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

fewer than 100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 25/191

35.9% (2014)

Education expenditures 102/173

4.2% of GDP (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 25.4%

male: 14.8%

female: 18.7% (2007 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Fiji

conventional short form: Fiji

local long form: Republic of Fiji/Matanitu ko Viti

local short form: Fiji/Viti

etymology: the Fijians called their home Viti, but the neighboring Tongans called it Fisi, and in the Anglicized spelling of the Tongan pronunciation - promulgated by explorer Captain James COOK - the designation became Fiji

Government type

republic

Capital

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 third Sunday in January

Administrative divisions

14 provinces and 1 dependency*; Ba, Bua, Cakaudrove, Kadavu, Lau, Lomaiviti, Macuata, Nadroga and Navosa, Naitasiri, Namosi, Ra, Rewa, Rotuma*, Serua, Tailevu

Independence

10 October 1970 (from the UK)

National holiday

Fiji Independence Day, 10 October (1970)

Constitution

previous 1970, 1990, 1997; latest signed into law September 2013 (2015)

Legal system

common law system based on the English model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Fiji

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Jioji Konousi KONROTE (since 12 November 2015)

head of government: Prime Minister Voreqe "Frank" BAINIMARAMA (since 22 September 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among members of Parliament and is responsible to Parliament

elections/appointments: under the constitution, president elected by the Parliament for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Jioji Konousi KONROTE elected 12 Ocotber 2015 defeating Ratu Epeli GANILAU 31 to 14

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (50 seats; members directly elected in a nationwide, multi-seat constituency by open-list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms; the new constitution of 2013 restructured Parliament from bicameral to unicameral

elections: last held on 17 September 2014 (next to be held in 2019)

election results: percent of vote by party - Fiji First 59.2%, SDL 28.2%, National Federation Party 5.5%, other 7.1%; seats by party - Fiji First 32, SDL 15, National Federation Party 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, all justices of the Court of Appeal, and judges appointed specifically as Supreme Court judges); Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, all puisne judges of the High Court, and judges specifically appointed to the Court of Appeal); High Court (chaired by the chief justice and includes a minimum of 10 puisne judges; High Court organized into civil, criminal, family, employment, and tax divisions); note - in 1987, the Supreme Court assumed functions formerly performed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president of Fiji on the advice of the prime minister following consultation with the parliamentary leader of the opposition; judges of the Supreme Court, the president of the Court of Appeal, the justices of the Court of Appeal, and puisne judges of the High Court appointed by the president of Fiji upon the nomination of the Judicial Service Commission after consulting with the cabinet minister and the committee of the House of Representatives responsible for the administration of justice; the chief justice, Supreme Court judges and justices of Appeal generally required to retire at age 70 but may be waived for one or more sessions of the court; puisne judges appointed for not less than 4 years nor more than 7 years with mandatory retirement at age 65

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Court (organized into civil, criminal, juvenile, and small claims divisions)

Political parties and leaders

FijiFirst [Aiyaz SAYED-KHAIYUM]

Fiji Labor Party or FLP [Mahendra CHAUDHRY]

Fiji United Freedon Party or FUFP [Jagath KARUNARATNE]

National Federation Party or NFP [Dalip KUMAR] (primarily Indian)

Peoples Democratic Party or PDP [Adi Sivia QORO]

Social Democratic Liberal Party or SODELPA [Pio TABAIWALU]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Group Against Racial Discrimination or GARD [Dr. Anirudk SINGH] (suports restoration of a democratic government)

Viti Landowners Association

International organization participation

ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OPCW, PCA, PIF, Sparteca (suspended), SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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 symbol(s)

Fijian canoe; national color: light blue

National anthem

name: "God Bless Fiji"

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

note: adopted 1970; 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

Economy - overview

Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the most developed and connected of the Pacific island economies. Earnings from the tourism industry, with an estimated 692,630 tourists visiting in 2014, and remittances from Fijian’s working abroad are the country’s largest foreign exchange earners. Fiji's sugar remains a significant industry and a major export. The sugar industry reforms since 2010 have improved productivity and returns, but the industry faces the complete withdrawal of European Union preferential prices by 2017. Fiji’s trade imbalance continues to widen with increased imports and sluggish performance of domestic exports. The return to parliamentary democracy and successful elections in September 2014 have boosted investor confidence. Private sector investment in 2015 exceeded 20% of GDP, compared to 13% in 2013.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 164/230

$7.798 billion (2015 est.)

$7.477 billion (2014 est.)

$7.1 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$4.526 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 56/225

4.3% (2015 est.)

5.3% (2014 est.)

4.6% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 141/230

$8,800 (2015 est.)

$8,400 (2014 est.)

$8,000 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 128/179

13.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

10.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

7.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 72%

government consumption: 13.5%

investment in fixed capital: 20.4%

investment in inventories: -0.1%

exports of goods and services: 56.7%

imports of goods and services: -62.5%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 11.9%

industry: 19.6%

services: 68.4% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

sugarcane, coconuts, cassava (manioc, tapioca), rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate 109/202

2.2% (2015 est.)

Labor force 162/233

347,700 (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 70%

industry and services: 30% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate 103/207

8.8% (2014 est.)

8.7% (2013 est.)

Population below poverty line

31% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 34.9% (2009 est.)

Budget

revenues: $1.087 billion

expenditures: $1.182 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 132/219

24% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 75/220

-2.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 81/176

49.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

51.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 133/226

2.8% (2015 est.)

0.5% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 119/156

1.75% (31 December 2010)

3% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 128/184

6.1% (31 December 2015 est.)

5.76% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 131/192

$1.85 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.823 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 145/193

$3.165 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$3.118 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 130/191

$2.979 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.896 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 114/121

$452.5 million (31 December 2012 est.)

$392.2 million (31 December 2011)

$418.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 84/197

-$286 million (2015 est.)

-$386 million (2014 est.)

Exports 153/224

$1.244 billion (2015 est.)

$1.152 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

US 11.8%, Australia 10%, UK 6.4%, Samoa 6.2%, Tonga 5.5% (2014)

Imports 157/223

$2.283 billion (2015 est.)

$2.403 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

Singapore 18.4%, South Korea 14%, NZ 13.7%, China 13.1%, Australia 12.9% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 137/170

$903 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$916.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 170/206

$769.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$797.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 100/120

$4.193 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$3.893 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 98/105

$50.08 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$50.2 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Fijian dollars (FJD) per US dollar -

2.12 (2015 est.)

1.89 (2014 est.)

1.89 (2013 est.)

1.79 (2012 est.)

1.79 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 155/220

857.5 million kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - consumption 161/219

777.6 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 136/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 147/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 154/214

259,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 156/214

46.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 90/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 51/214

48.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 56/212

5.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 134/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 123/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 188/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 132/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 180/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 154/212

9,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 112/214

690.3 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 136/213

10,130 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 185/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 142/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 98/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 195/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 137/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 158/212

1.543 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 150/219

total subscriptions: 74,700

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 161/217

total: 876,200

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 97 (2014 est.)

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-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 100 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) (2011)

Broadcast media

Fiji TV, a publicly traded company, operates a free-to-air channel, as well as 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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 13, FM 40, shortwave 0 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

NA

Internet country code

.fj

Internet hosts 115/232

21,739 (2012)

Internet users 139/217

total: 331,700

percent of population: 36.7% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 121/236

28 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 24

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 19 (2013)

Railways 109/136

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 the harvest season, which runs from May to December (2008)

Roadways 163/223

total: 3,440 km

paved: 1,686 km

unpaved: 1,754 km (2011)

Waterways 97/107

203 km (122 km are navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges) (2012)

Merchant marine 108/156

total: 11

by type: passenger 4, passenger/cargo 4, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 2

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

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Lautoka, Levuka, Suva

Military and Security

Military branches

Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF): Land Forces, Naval Forces (2011)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 55 (2013)

Military expenditures 61/132

1.47% of GDP (2012)

1.44% of GDP (2011)

1.47% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none