Fiji 1997Fiji

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Fiji - Introduction 1997
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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. Fiji has been a major contributor to UN peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world.

Fiji - Geography 1997
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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 referenceOceania

Total: 18,270 km²
Land: 18,270 km²
Water: 0 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,129 km

Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation; rectilinear shelf claim added
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin

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

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

Land use
Arable land: 10%
Permanent crops: 4%
Permanent pastures: 10%
Forests and woodland: 65%
Other: 11% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: cyclonic storms can occur from November to January

Note: includes 332 islands of which approximately 110 are inhabited

Fiji - People 1997
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Population: 792,441 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.28% (1997 est.)

Noun: Fijian(s)
Adjective: Fijian

Ethnic groups: Fijian 49%, Indian 46%, European, other Pacific Islanders, overseas Chinese, and other 5%

Languages: English (official), Fijian, Hindustani

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)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 35% (male 140,685; female 135,044)
15-64 years: 62% (male 246,128; female 246,001)
65 years and over: 3% (male 11,620; female 12,963) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.28% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 23.12 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 6.3 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.07 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; soil erosion

Air pollutants

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: 0.9 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 17 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 66 years
Male: 63.66 years
Female: 68.46 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.78 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 91.6%
Male: 93.8%
Female: 89.3% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Fiji - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Fiji
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

Dependent areas

Independence: 10 October 1970 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 10 October (1970)

Constitution: 10 October 1970 (suspended 1 October 1987; a new constitution was proposed on 23 September 1988 and promulgated on 25 July 1990; the 1990 constitution is under review; the review is scheduled to be completed by 1997

Legal system: based on British system

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Ratu Sir Kamisese MARA (acting president since 15 December 1993, president since 12 January 1994); First Vice President Ratu Sir Josaia TAIVAIQIA (since 12 January 1994); Second Vice President Ratu Inoke TAKIVEIKATA (since 12 January 1994)
Head of government: Prime Minister Sitiveni RABUKA (since 2 June 1992)
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 Sir Kamisese MARA elected president; percent of Great Council of Chiefs vote - NA

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (34 seats; 24 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 9 for Indians and others, and 1 for the island of Rotuma; members appointed by the president to serve five-year terms) and the House of Representatives (70 seats; 37 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 27 for ethnic Indians, and 6 for independents and others; members elected by popular vote on a communal basis to serve five-year terms)
Elections: House of Representatives - last held 18-25 February 1994 (next to be held NA 1999)
Election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SVT 31, NFP 20, FLP 7, FAP 5, GVP 4, independents 2, ANC 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, AsDB, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNTAES, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Ratu Napolioni MASIREWA
In the us chancery: Suite 240, 2,233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,007
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 337-8,320
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 337-1996
In the us consulates: New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Don Lee GEVIRTZ
From the us embassy: 31 Loftus Street, Suva
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 218, Suva
From the us telephone: [679] 314,466
From the us FAX: [679] 300,081

Flag descriptionflag of Fiji: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Fiji - Economy 1997
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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 tourism are the major sources of foreign exchange. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity. Roughly 250,000 tourists visit each year. Political uncertainty and drought, however, contribute to substantial fluctuations in earnings from tourism and sugar and to the emigration of skilled workers. In 1992, growth was approximately 3%, based on growth in tourism and a lessening of labor-management disputes in the sugar and gold-mining sectors. In 1993, the government's budgeted growth rate of 3% was not achieved because of a decline in non-sugar agricultural output and damage from Cyclone Kina. Growth in 1994 of 5% was largely attributable to increased tourism and expansion in the manufacturing sector.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 5% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 21%
Industry: 18%
Services: 61% (1995 est.)

Agriculture products: sugarcane, coconuts, cassava (tapioca), rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish catch 13,796 tons (1991)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 2.9% (1995)

Labor force
Total: 235,000
By occupation subsistenceagriculture: 67%
By occupation wageearners: 18%
By occupation salaryearners: 15% (1987)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 6% (1997 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $540.65 million
Expenditures: $742.65 million, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1997 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $607 million (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: sugar 32%, clothing, gold, processed fish, lumber
Partners: EU 26%, Australia 15%, other Pacific island countries 11%, Japan 6%

Total value: $864 million (c.i.f., 1995)
Commodities: machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, consumer goods, chemicals
Partners: Australia 30%, NZ 17%, Japan 13%, EU 6%, US 6%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $333.8 million (1996 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Fijian dollars (F$) per US$1 - 1.4000 (January 1997), 1.4033 (1996), 1.4063 (1995), 1.4641 (1994), 1.5418 (1993), 1.5030 (1992)

Fiji - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 510 million kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 660 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Fiji - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: modern local, interisland, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio communications center
Domestic: NA
International: access to important cable link between US and Canada and NZ and Australia; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Pacific Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Fiji - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $32 million (1997)
Percent of gdp: 5% (1997)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Fiji - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 21 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 18
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 15 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 3
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 18
Over 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 15 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 3
914 to 1523 m: 3 (1996 est.)



Total: 597 km; note - belongs to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation
Narrow gauge: 597 km 0.610-m gauge (1995)


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

Merchant marine
Total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 17,800 GRT/18,034 DWT
Ships by type: chemical tanker 2, oil tanker 1, passenger 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Fiji - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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