Fiji 1999Fiji

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Undercover Tourist

Fiji - Introduction 1999
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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. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian. Fiji has been a major contributor to UN peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world.

Fiji - Geography 1999
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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 1999
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Population: 812,918 (July 1999 est.)
Growth rate: 1.28% (1999 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%

Noun: Fijian(s)
Adjective: Fijian

Ethnic groups: Fijian 51%, Indian 44%, European, other Pacific Islanders, overseas Chinese, and other 5% (1998 est.)

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: 33% (male 138,796; female 133,428)
15-64 years: 63% (male 257,130; female 256,834)
65 years and over: 4% (male 12,527; female 14,203) (1999 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.28% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 22.76 births/1000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 6.21 deaths/1000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: -3.78 migrant(s)/1000 population (1999 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; soil erosion
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertication, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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: 0.88 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 16.3 deaths/1000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 66.59 years
Male: 64.19 years
Female: 69.11 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.7 children born/woman (1999 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 1999
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of the Fiji Islands
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; amended 25 July 1997 to allow non-ethnic Fijians greater say in government and to make multi-party government mandatory; entered into force 28 July 1998; note_ the May 1999 election will be the first test of the amended constitution and will introduce open voting_not racially prescribed_for the first time at the national level

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); Vice President Ratu Josefa Iloilo ULUIVUDA (since 18 January 1999)
Head of government: Prime Minister Sitiveni RABUKA (since 2 June 1992); Deputy Prime Minister Taufa VAKATALE (since 7 August 1997)
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 reserved 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 11 May 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; note_results are for the last election before the new constitution came into force
Note: when the new constitution is applied to the upcoming May elections, the composition of the legislative branch will change to the following:Senate_32 seats (14 appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs, nine appointed by the prime minister, eight appointed by the leader of the opposition, and one appointed by the council of Rotuma) and House of Representatives_71 seats (23 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 19 reserved for ethnic Indians, three reserved for other ethnic groups, one reserved for the Rotuman constituency encompassing the whole of Fiji, and 25 open seats)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACP, AsDB, C, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, OPCW, PCA, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, 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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Larry M. DINGER
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 1999
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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 a growing tourist industry 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. Fiji's growth slowed in 1997 because the sugar industry suffered from low world prices and rent disputes between farmers and landowners. Drought in 1998 further damaged the sugar industry. Overall growth in 1991-98 has averaged less than 2% per year, with long-term problems of low investment and uncertain property rights. The central bank predicts growth of 2% to 3% in 1999.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 2.4% (1998 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: 19%
Industry: 22%
Services: 59% (1996 est.)

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

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

Industrial production growth rate: 2.9% (1995)

Labor force: 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: NA%

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

Exports: $655 million (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: sugar 32%, clothing, gold, processed fish, lumber
Partners: Australia 27%, UK 14%, NZ 12%, US 8%, Japan (1996)

Imports: $838 million (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals
Partners: Australia 44%, NZ 15%, US 9%, Japan 5%, Singapore 5% (1996)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $217 million (1996 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Fijian dollars (F$) per US$1: 1.9556 (January 1999), 1.9868 (1998), 1.4437 (1997), 1.4033 (1996), 1.4063 (1995), 1.4641 (1994)

Fiji - Energy 1999
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 545 million kWh (1996)
By source fossil fuel: 21.1%
By source hydro: 78.9%
By source nuclear: 0%
By source other: 0% (1996)

Electricity consumption: 545 million kWh (1996)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (1996)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Fiji - Communication 1999
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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 1999
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $34 million (1997)
Percent of gdp: 1.6% (1997)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Fiji - Transportation 1999
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 24 (1998 est.)
With paved runways total: 3
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1 (1998 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 21
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 4
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 17 (1998 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 3
Over 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 1 (1998 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 21
914 to 1523 m: 4
Under 914 m: 17 (1998 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: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 10,721 GRT/13,145 DWT
Ships by type: chemical tanker 2, passenger 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1, specialized tanker 1 (1998 est.)

Ports and terminals

Fiji - Transnational issues 1999
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Disputes international: none

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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