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Introduction - Fiji:
BackgroundFiji 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. In January 2007, BAINIMARAMA was appointed interim prime minister.
Location - Fiji:
LocationOceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Geographic coordinates18 00 S, 175 00 E
Map referencesOceania
Areatotal: 18,270 sq km
land: 18,270 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparativeslightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline1,129 km
Maritime claimsmeasured 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
Climatetropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation
Terrainmostly mountains of volcanic origin
Elevation extremeslowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tomanivi 1,324 m
Natural resourcestimber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower
Land usearable land: 10.95%
permanent crops: 4.65%
other: 84.4% (2005)
Irrigated land30 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardscyclonic storms can occur from November to January
Environment current issuesdeforestation; soil erosion
Environment international agreementsparty 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 noteincludes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited
People - Fiji:
Population918,675 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 30.9% (male 144,665/female 138,816)
15-64 years: 64.7% (male 297,709/female 296,897)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 18,397/female 22,191) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 24.9 years
male: 24.4 years
female: 25.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate1.394% (2007 est.)
Birth rate22.37 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate5.66 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate-2.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.042 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.003 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.829 male(s)/female
total population: 1.006 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 11.99 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 70.12 years
male: 67.6 years
female: 72.76 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate2.7 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.1% (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids600 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deathsless than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Fijian(s)
adjective: Fijian
Ethnic groupsFijian 54.8% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indian 37.4%, other 7.9% (European, other Pacific Islanders, Chinese) (2005 estimate)
ReligionsChristian 53% (Methodist 34.5%, Roman Catholic 7.2%, Assembly of God 3.8%, Seventh Day Adventist 2.6%, other 4.9%), Hindu 34% (Sanatan 25%, Arya Samaj 1.2%, other 7.8%), Muslim 7% (Sunni 4.2%. other 2.8%), other or unspecified 5.6%, none 0.3% (1996 census)
LanguagesEnglish (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 95.5%
female: 91.9% (2003 est.)
Government - Fiji:
Country nameconventional 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
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: 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)
Administrative divisions4 divisions and 1 dependency*; Central, Eastern, Northern, Rotuma*, Western
Independence10 October 1970 (from UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, second Monday of October (1970)
Constitutionenacted on 25 July 1997 to encourage multiculturalism and make multiparty government mandatory; effective 28 July 1998
Legal systembased on British system
Suffrage21 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Ratu Josefa ILOILOVATU Uluivuda (since 18 July 2000); note - ILOILOVATU was reaffirmed as president by the Great Council of Chiefs in a statement issued on 22 December, and reappointed by the coup leader Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA in January 2007
head of government: Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE (since 10 September 2000); note - although QARASE is still the legal prime minister, he has been confined to his home island; the president appointed Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA interim prime minister under the military regime
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament and is responsible to Parliament; note - coup leader Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA has appointed an interim cabinet
elections: president elected by the Great Council of Chiefs for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); prime minister appointed by the president; election last held 8 March 2006
election results: Ratu Josefa ILOILOVATU Uluivuda elected president by the Great Council of Chiefs; percent of vote - NA
Legislative branchbicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (32 seats; 14 appointed by the president on the advice of the Great Council of Chiefs, 9 appointed by the president on the advice of the Prime Minister, 8 on the advice of the Opposition Leader, and 1 appointed on the advice of the council of Rotuma) and the House of Representatives (71 seats; 23 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 19 reserved for ethnic Indians, 3 reserved for other ethnic groups, 1 reserved for the council of Rotuma constituency encompassing the whole of Fiji, and 25 open seats; members serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 6-13 May 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - SDL 44.6%, FLP 39.2%, UPP 0.8%, independents 4.9%, other 10.5%; seats by party - SDL 36, FLP 31, UPP 2, independents 2
Judicial branchSupreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); Court of Appeal; High Court; Magistrates Courts
Political parties and leadersDodonu Ni Taukei Party or DNT [Fereti S. DEWA]; Fiji Democratic Party or FDP [Filipe BOLE] (a merger of the Christian Democrat Alliance or VLV [Poesci Waqalevu BUNE], Fijian Association Party or FAP, Fijian Political Party or SVT (primarily Fijian) [Sitiveni RABUKA], and New Labor Unity Party or NLUP [Ofa SWANN]); Fiji Labor Party or FLP [Mahendra CHAUDHRY]; General Voters Party or GVP (became part of United General Party); Girmit Heritage Party or GHP; Justice and Freedom Party or AIM; Lio On Famor Rotuma Party or LFR; National Federation Party or NFP (primarily Indian) [Pramond RAE]; Nationalist Vanua Takolavo Party or NVTLP [Saula TELAWA]; Party of National Unity or PANU [Ponipate LESAVUA]; Party of the Truth or POTT; United Fiji Party/Sogosogo Duavata ni Lewenivanua or SDL [Laisenia QARASE]; United Peoples Party or UPP [Millis Mick BEDDOES]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge dAffaires Penijamini R. LOMALOMA
chancery: 2000 M Street, NW, Suite 710, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 466-8320
FAX: [1] (202) 466-8325
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Larry Miles DINGER
embassy: 31 Loftus Street, Suva
mailing address: P. O. Box 218, Suva
telephone: [679] 331-4466
FAX: [679] 330-0081
Flag descriptionlight 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
Economy - Fiji:
Economy overviewFiji, 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 300,000 to 400,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange. Fijis sugar has special access to European Union markets, but will be harmed by the EUs decision to cut sugar subsidies. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity but is not efficient. Fijis tourism industry was damaged by the 2006 coup and is facing an uncertain recovery time. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the governments inability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have increased significantly.
Gdp purchasing power parity $5.594 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $2.045 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate3.1% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $6,200 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 8.9%
industry: 13.5%
services: 77.6% (2004 est.)
Labor force137,000 (1999)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 70%
industry and services: 30% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate7.6% (1999)
Population below poverty line25.5% (FY90/91)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices 3% (2005)
Budgetrevenues: $720.5 million
expenditures: $728.3 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005)
Agriculture productssugarcane, coconuts, cassava (tapioca), rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish
Industriestourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber, small cottage industries
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Electricity production817 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption759.8 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption10,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance-$465.8 million (2006 est.)
Exports$719.6 million f.o.b. (2005)
Exports commoditiessugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses, coconut oil
Exports partnersUS 16.8%, Australia 13.9%, UK 13.5%, Japan 5.3%, Samoa 4.7%, Tonga 4.1% (2006)
Imports$1.462 billion c.i.f. (2005)
Imports commoditiesmanufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals
Imports partnersSingapore 28.9%, Australia 23.4%, NZ 16.9%, China 4.7% (2006)
Debt external$127 million (2004 est.)
Economic aid recipient$63.9 million (2004)
Currency code Fijian dollar (FJD)
Exchange ratesFijian dollars per US dollar - 1.7313 (2006), 1.691 (2005), 1.7331 (2004), 1.8958 (2003), 2.1869 (2002)
Communications - Fiji:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use112,500 (2005)
Telephones mobile cellular205,000 (2005)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern local, interisland, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio communications center
domestic: NA
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)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 13, FM 40, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stationsNA
Internet country
Internet hosts8,987 (2006)
Internet users80,000 (2006)
Transportation - Fiji:
Airports28 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 25
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 18 (2006)
Railwaystotal: 597 km
narrow gauge: 597 km 0.600-m gauge
note: belongs to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation; used to haul sugarcane during harvest season (May to December) (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 3,440 km
paved: 1,692 km
unpaved: 1,748 km (1999)
Waterways203 km
note: 122 km navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges (2006)
Merchant marinetotal: 7 ships (1000 GRT or over) 15,867 GRT/8,432 DWT
by type: passenger 3, passenger/cargo 2, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Australia 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsLambasa, Lautoka, Suva
Military - Fiji:
Military branchesRepublic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF): Land Forces, Naval Forces (2006)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; reserve obligation to age 45 (2006)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 215,104
females age 18-49: 212,739 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 163,960
females age 18-49: 178,714 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 9,266
females age 18-49: 8,916 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp2.2% (2005 est.)
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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