About Fiji [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Fiji; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

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

Climate

Tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

Mostly mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation

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

Geo Notes

Includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited

Approved Official Names

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

Capital City

name: Suva
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

Natuaral Hazards

Cyclonic storms can occur from November to January

Environmental Issues

Deforestation; soil erosion

Life Expectancy

total population: 71.03 years
male: 68.46 years
female: 73.73 years (2010 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.)

Languages Spoken

English (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani

Religions Practiced

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)

Legal System

Based on British system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National Holiday

Independence Day, second Monday of October (1970)

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)

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). 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.

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.

People Trafficking

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)

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

Fiji location map
Size

total: 18,274 sq km
land: 18,274 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Fiji flag
Population

875,983 (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

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)

HIV/AIDS Rate

0.1% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

10 October 1970 (from the UK)

Government Type

Republic

Voting Rights

21 years of age; universal

Internet Users

103,000 (2008)

Internet Hosts

17,088 (2010)

Internet Country Code

.fj

Number Airports

28 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2010)

Railways

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

total: 3,440 km
paved: 1,692 km
unpaved: 1,748 km (2000)

Inland Waterways

203 km
note: 122 km navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Lautoka, Levuka, Suva

National Budget

revenues: $1.363 billion
expenditures: $1.376 billion (2006)

Account Balance

-$507 million (2007 est.)

Exchange Rates

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

Inflation Rate

4.8% (2007)

Main Industries

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

Agricultural Products

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

Labor Force

335,000 (2007 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 70%
industry and services: 30% (2001 est.)

Unemployment Rate

7.6% (1999)

GDP (USD Parity)

$3.67 billion (2009 est.)
$3.764 billion (2008 est.)
$3.768 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$4,200 (2009 est.)
$4,400 (2008 est.)
$4,400 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Below Poverty

25.5% (FY90/91)