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macrohistory & world report

Republic of the Fiji Islands

Map location of the Fini Islands in the South Pacific Ocean

The Republic of the Fiji Islands

World Factbook as of November 2014: "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."

Economic growth rate
2011: 1.5%
2010: 0.3%
2009: minus 1.3%

Labor force in agriculture
2001: 70%

Export commodities
Sugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses, coconut oil

Export partners
2010: US 15.7%, Australia 14.6%, Japan 6.1%, Samoa 5.7%, Tonga 5%

Export/Import ratio
2011: exports $0.625 billion, imports $1.3 billion

Health expenditures
2009: 9.7% of GDP

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 52%

Net migration rate
2012: A net loss of 7.11 persons per 1,000 population per year

Ethnic groups
2007 census: Fijian 57.3% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indian 37.6%, Rotuman 1.2%, other 3.9% (European, other Pacific Islanders, Chinese). Note: at the turn of the century the indigenous Fijian and ethnic Indians were about equal, but the Indians have been fleeing agitation.

Religions
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%

Geography

A group of islands in the South Pacific. East of Australia. Southwest from the Samoan Islands. Equivalent to 135 by 135 kilometers or 84.5 by 84.5 miles.

Government

President is elected for a five-year term and eligible for a second term.

Bicameral parliament. Members of the lower house are elected to five-year terms.

Capital: Suva

Recent History

October 10, 1970: independence from Britain. Fiji joins the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly known as the British Commonwealth).

1987: Indigenous Fijians overthrow a duly an Indian-dominated coalition government.

Elections in 1999 resulted in a government with a prime minister of Indian descent. A coup in May 2000 overthrew the new government, hurting Fiji's tourist industry and its claim to be a democracy.

Parliamentary elections in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government.

In 2006 there was a bloodless military coup.

September 2009: Fiji is suspended from the Commonwealth because of its lack of progress toward democracy.

SOURCES:
The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.