[Country map of Fiji]



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

Map references: Oceania

total area: 18,270 sq km
land area: 18,270 sq km
comparative area: 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

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: mostly mountains of volcanic origin

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

Land use:
arable land: 8%
permanent crops: 5%
meadows and pastures: 3%
forest and woodland: 65%
other: 19%

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: deforestation; soil erosion
natural hazards: cyclonic storms can occur from November to January
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94

Note: includes 332 islands of which approximately 110 are inhabited


Population: 772,891 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (female 136,570; male 142,581)
15-64 years: 61% (female 235,491; male 235,411)
65 years and over: 3% (female 11,943; male 10,895) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.16% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 23.69 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6.42 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -5.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 17.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.42 years
male: 63.13 years
female: 67.82 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.87 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Fijian(s)
adjective: Fijian

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

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)

Languages: English (official), Fijian, Hindustani

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1986)
total population: 87%
male: 90%
female: 84%

Labor force: 235,000
by occupation: subsistence agriculture 67%, wage earners 18%, salary earners 15% (1987)


conventional long form: Republic of Fiji
conventional short form: Fiji

Digraph: FJ

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

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 complete by 1997

Legal system: based on British system

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ratu Sir Kamisese MARA (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); note - President GANILAU died on 15 December 1993 and Vice President MARA became acting president; MARA was elected president by the Great Council of Chiefs on 12 January 1994
head of government: Prime Minister Sitiveni RABUKA (since 2 June 1992)
Presidential Council: appointed by the governor general
Great Council of Chiefs: highest ranking members of the traditional chiefly system
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by prime minister from members of Parliament and responsible to Parliament

Legislative branch: the bicameral Parliament was dissolved following the coup of 14 May 1987
Senate: nonelective body containing 34 seats, 24 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 9 for Indians and others, 1 for the island of Rotuma; appointed by President
House of Representatives: elections last held 18-25 February 1994 (next to be held NA 1999); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (70 total, with ethnic Fijians allocated 37 seats, ethnic Indians 27 seats, and independents and other 6 seats) number of seats by party SVT 31, NFP 20, FLP 7, FA 5, GVP 4, independents 2, ANC 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Fijian Political Party (SVT - primarily Fijian), leader Maj. Gen. Sitivini RABUKA; National Federation Party (NFP; primarily Indian), Jai Ram REDDY; Fijian Nationalist Party (FNP), Sakeasi BUTADROKA; Fiji Labor Party (FLP), Mahendra CHAUDHRY; General Voters Party (GVP), Bill SORBY; Fiji Conservative Party (FCP), Isireli VUIBAU; Conservative Party of Fiji (CPF), Jolale ULUDOLE and Viliame SAVU; Fiji Indian Liberal Party, Swami MAHARAJ; Fiji Indian Congress Party, Ishwari BAJPAI; Fiji Independent Labor (Muslim), leader NA; Four Corners Party, David TULVANUAVOU; Fijian Association (FA), leader NA; General Electors' Association, leader NA
note: in early 1995, ethnic Fijian members of the All National Congress (ANC) merged with the Fijian Association (FA); the new FA is scheduled to hold its first meeting in April 1995 at which time the leaders of the party will be chosen; it is likely that Josevata KAMIKAMICA, the leader of the FA before the merger, will be elected leader and Adi Kuini Bavadra SPEED, the leader of the ANC before the merger, will be elected deputy leader; the remaining members of the ANC have renamed their party the General Electors' Association


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pita Kewa NACUVA
chancery: Suite 240, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 337-8320
FAX: [1] (202) 337-1996
consulate(s): New York

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Michael W. MARINE
embassy: 31 Loftus Street, Suva
mailing address: P. O. Box 218, Suva
telephone: [679] 314466
FAX: [679] 300081

Flag: 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


Overview: Fiji's economy is primarily agricultural, with a large subsistence sector. Sugar exports and tourism are the major sources of foreign exchange. Industry contributes 13% to GDP, with sugar processing accounting for 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 is estimated to be 5%, largely attributed to increased tourism and expansion in domestic production, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $4.3 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 5% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $5,650 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (1992)

revenues: $485 million
expenditures: $579 million, including capital expenditures of $58 million (1994)

Exports: $405 million (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: sugar 40%, clothing, gold, processed fish, lumber
partners: EC 26%, Australia 15%, Pacific Islands 11%, Japan 6%

Imports: $634 million (c.i.f., 1993)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, consumer goods, chemicals
partners: Australia 30%, NZ 17%, Japan 13%, EC 6%, US 6%

External debt: $670 million (1994 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 0% (1993 est.); accounts for 13% of GDP

capacity: 200,000 kW
production: 480 million kWh
consumption per capita: 581 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 23% of GDP; principal cash crop is sugarcane; coconuts, cassava, rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; small livestock sector includes cattle, pigs, horses, and goats; fish catch nearly 33,000 tons (1989)

Economic aid:
recipient: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1980-89), $815 million

Currency: 1 Fijian dollar (F$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Fijian dollars (F$) per US$1 - 1.4140 (January 1995), 1.4641 (1994), 1.5418 (1993), 1.5030 (1992), 1.4756 (1991), 1.4809 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 644 km; note - belongs to the government owned Fiji Sugar Corporation
narrow gauge: 644 km 0.610-m gauge

total: 3,300 km
paved: 1,590 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone, stabilized earth 1,290 km; unimproved earth 420 km (1984)

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

Ports: Labasa, Lautoka, Levuka, Savusavu, Suva

Merchant marine:
total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 16,267 GRT/17,884 DWT
ships by type: chemical tanker 2, oil tanker 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2

total: 23
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 16
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 4


Telephone system: 53,228 telephones; 71 telephones/1,000 persons; modern local, interisland, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio center
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: important COMPAC cable link between US-Canada and NZ-Australia; 1 INTELSAT (Pacific Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 7, FM 1, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF; includes army, navy, and air elements)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 201,441; males fit for military service 111,046; males reach military age (18) annually 8,466 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $22.4 million, about 2% of GDP (FY91/92)