Photos of Fiji

Introduction

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). 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 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE. Reelected in May 2006, QARASE was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA, who initially appointed himself acting president but in January 2007 became interim prime minister. Following years of political turmoil, long-delayed legislative elections were held in September 2014 that were deemed "credible" by international observers and that resulted in BAINIMARAMA being reelected. He was reelected in November 2018 in elections deemed free and fair.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

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

Area

total: 18,274 sq km

land: 18,274 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 156

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

1,129 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

Climate

tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

mostly mountains of volcanic origin

Elevation

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m

highest point: Tomanivi 1,324 m

Natural resources

timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 23.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 4.7% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 9.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 55.7% (2018 est.)

other: 21% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

approximately 70% of the population lives on the island of Viti Levu; roughly half of the population lives in urban areas

Natural hazards

cyclonic storms can occur from November to January

Geography - note

includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Fijian(s)

adjective: Fijian

Ethnic groups

iTaukei 56.8% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indo-Fijian 37.5%, Rotuman 1.2%, other 4.5% (European, part European, other Pacific Islanders, Chinese) (2007 est.)

note: a 2010 law replaces 'Fijian' with 'iTaukei' when referring to the original and native settlers of Fiji

Languages

English (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani

Religions

Protestant 45% (Methodist 34.6%, Assembly of God 5.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.9%, and Anglican 0.8%), Hindu 27.9%, other Christian 10.4%, Roman Catholic 9.1%, Muslim 6.3%, Sikh 0.3%, other 0.3%, none 0.8% (2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.86% (male 128,499/female 122,873)

15-24 years: 15.51% (male 73,993/female 71,139)

25-54 years: 41.05% (male 196,932/female 187,270)

55-64 years: 9.25% (male 43,813/female 42,763)

65 years and over: 7.34% (male 31,556/female 37,136) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.4

youth dependency ratio: 44.5

elderly dependency ratio: 8.9

potential support ratio: 11.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 29.9 years

male: 29.7 years

female: 30.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 125

Birth rate

16.9 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

Death rate

6.31 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 142

Net migration rate

-6.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 209

Population distribution

approximately 70% of the population lives on the island of Viti Levu; roughly half of the population lives in urban areas

Urbanization

urban population: 57.2% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 1.62% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

178,000 SUVA (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

34 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 107

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.27 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 11.84 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 8.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 74 years

male: 71.32 years

female: 76.82 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.8% of population

rural: 88.7% of population

total: 93.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.2% of population

rural: 11.3% of population

total: 6.2% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.86 physicians/1,000 population (2015)

Hospital bed density

2 beds/1,000 population (2016)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 94% of population

rural: 89% of population

total: 98% of population

unimproved: urban: 6% of population

rural: 11% of population

total: 2% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<100 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: malaria

Literacy

total population: 99.1%

male: 99.1%

female: 99.1% (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 15.4%

male: 11.9%

female: 22.4% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Fiji

conventional short form: Fiji

local long form: Republic of Fiji/Matanitu ko Viti

local short form: Fiji/Viti

etymology: the Fijians called their home Viti, but the neighboring Tongans called it Fisi, and in the Anglicized spelling of the Tongan pronunciation - promulgated by explorer Captain James COOK - the designation became Fiji

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

name: 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)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in November; ends second Sunday in January

Administrative divisions

14 provinces and 1 dependency*; Ba, Bua, Cakaudrove, Kadavu, Lau, Lomaiviti, Macuata, Nadroga and Navosa, Naitasiri, Namosi, Ra, Rewa, Rotuma*, Serua, Tailevu

Independence

10 October 1970 (from the UK)

National holiday

Fiji (Independence) Day, 10 October (1970)

Constitution

history: several previous; latest signed into law 6 September 2013

Legal system

common law system based on the English model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Fiji

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: at least 5 years residency out of the 10 years preceding application

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Jioji Konousi KONROTE (since 12 November 2015)

head of government: Prime Minister Voreqe "Frank" BAINIMARAMA (since 22 September 2014)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among members of Parliament and is responsible to Parliament

elections/appointments: president elected by Parliament for a 3-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 31 August 2018 (next to be held in 2021); prime minister endorsed by the president

election results: Jioji Konousi KONROTE reelected president (unopposed)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (51 seats; members directly elected in a nationwide, multi-seat constituency by open-list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 14 November 2018 (next to be held in 2022)

election results: percent of vote by party - FijiFirst 50%, SODELPA 39.6%, NFP 7.4%; seats by party - FijiFirst 27, SODELPA 21, NFP 3; composition - men 41, women 10, percent of women 19.6%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, all justices of the Court of Appeal, and judges appointed specifically as Supreme Court judges); Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, all puisne judges of the High Court, and judges specifically appointed to the Court of Appeal); High Court (chaired by the chief justice and includes a minimum of 10 puisne judges; High Court organized into civil, criminal, family, employment, and tax divisions)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president of Fiji on the advice of the prime minister following consultation with the parliamentary leader of the opposition; judges of the Supreme Court, the president of the Court of Appeal, the justices of the Court of Appeal, and puisne judges of the High Court appointed by the president of Fiji upon the nomination of the Judicial Service Commission after consulting with the cabinet minister and the committee of the House of Representatives responsible for the administration of justice; the chief justice, Supreme Court judges and justices of Appeal generally required to retire at age 70, but this requirement may be waived for one or more sessions of the court; puisne judges appointed for not less than 4 years nor more than 7 years, with mandatory retirement at age 65

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Court (organized into civil, criminal, juvenile, and small claims divisions)

Political parties and leaders

FijiFirst [Veroqe "Frank" BAINIMARAMA]
Fiji Labor Party or FLP [Mahendra CHAUDHRY]
Fiji United Freedon Party or FUFP [Jagath KARUNARATNE]
National Federation Party or NFP [Biman PRASAD] (primarily Indian)
Peoples Democratic Party or PDP [Lynda TABUYA]
Social Democratic Liberal Party or SODELPA
Unity Fiji [Adi QORO]

International organization participation

ACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OPCW, PCA, PIF, Sparteca (suspended), SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Akuila VUIRA

chancery: 2000 M Street NW, Suite 710, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 466-8320

FAX: [1] (202) 466-8325

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph James CELLA (since 23 December 2019); note - also accredited to Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu

telephone: [679] 331-4466

embassy: 158 Princes Rd, Tamavua

mailing address: P. O. Box 218, Suva

FAX: [679] 330-8685

Flag description

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 blue symbolizes the Pacific Ocean and the Union Jack reflects the links with Great Britain; the shield - taken from Fiji's coat of arms - depicts a yellow lion, holding a coconut pod between its paws, above a white field quartered by the cross of Saint George; the four quarters depict stalks of sugarcane, a palm tree, a banana bunch, and a white dove of peace

National symbol(s)

Fijian canoe; national color: light blue

National anthem

name: God Bless Fiji

lyrics/music: Michael Francis Alexander PRESCOTT/C. Austin MILES (adapted by Michael Francis Alexander PRESCOTT)

note: adopted 1970; known in Fijian as "Meda Dau Doka" (Let Us Show Pride); adapted from the hymn, "Dwelling in Beulah Land," the anthem's English lyrics are generally sung, although they differ in meaning from the official Fijian lyrics

Economy

Economic overview

Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the most developed and connected of the Pacific island economies. Earnings from the tourism industry, with an estimated 842,884 tourists visiting in 2017, and remittances from Fijian’s working abroad are the country’s largest foreign exchange earners.

Bottled water exports to the US is Fiji’s largest domestic export. Fiji's sugar sector remains a significant industry and a major export, but crops and one of the sugar mills suffered damage during Cyclone Winston in 2016. Fiji’s trade imbalance continues to widen with increased imports and sluggish performance of domestic exports.

The return to parliamentary democracy and successful elections in September 2014 improved investor confidence, but increasing bureaucratic regulation, new taxes, and lack of consultation with relevant stakeholders brought four consecutive years of decline for Fiji on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index. Private sector investment in 2017 approached 20% of GDP, compared to 13% in 2013.

Real GDP growth rate

3% (2017 est.)

0.7% (2016 est.)

3.8% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: Ba3 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: BB- (2019)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$12.178 billion (2019 est.)

$12.232 billion (2018 est.)

$11.783 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 160

GDP (official exchange rate)

$4.891 billion (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$13,684 (2019 est.)

$13,846 (2018 est.)

$13,429 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 119

Gross national saving

19% of GDP (2018 est.)

18.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

16.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 13.5% (2017 est.)

industry: 17.4% (2017 est.)

services: 69.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 81.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 24.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 16.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 29% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -51.6% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 61.5 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 73.6 (2020)

Trading score: 77.9 (2020)

Enforcement score: 57.1 (2020)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, cassava, taro, poultry, vegetables, coconuts, eggs, milk, ginger, sweet potatoes

Industries

tourism, sugar processing, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 44.2%

industry: 14.3%

services: 41.6% (2011)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 34.9% (2009 est.)

Budget

revenues: 1.454 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 1.648 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

48.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

47.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 106

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$277 million (2017 est.)

-$131 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

Exports

$908.2 million (2017 est.)

$709 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Exports - partners

United States 29%, Australia 14%, New Zealand 7%, Japan 6%, Tonga 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

water, refined petroleum, fish, raw sugar, gold (2019)

Imports

$1.911 billion (2017 est.)

$1.761 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 172

Imports - partners

Singapore 18%, Australia 13%, China 13.8%, New Zealand 11%, France 11%, South Korea 8% (2017)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, aircraft, cars, wheat, broadcasting equipment (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.116 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$908.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 130

Debt - external

$1.022 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$696.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Exchange rates

Fijian dollars (FJD) per US dollar -

2.05955 (2020 est.)

2.17345 (2019 est.)

2.1104 (2018 est.)

2.0976 (2014 est.)

1.8874 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 99.6% (2018)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2018)

electrification - rural areas: 99.2% (2018)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 80,650

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8.66 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1,097,345

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117.83 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: local, interisland, and international telecommunications; subject to occasional devastating cyclones; Fiji is a leader in the Pacific region in terms of development of its ICT (Information & Communications Technology) sector and investment in telecoms infrastructure; mobile services the primary source of Internet access across the region; most advanced economy in the Pacific island region as well as hosting the highest mobile Internet penetration; initial progress towards 5G readiness (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 9 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 118 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 679; landing points for the ICN1, SCCN, Southern Cross NEXT, Tonga Cable and Tui-Samoa submarine cable links to US, NZ, Australia and Pacific islands of Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Fallis & Futuna, and American Samoa; satellite earth stations - 2 Inmarsat (Pacific Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

Fiji TV, a publicly traded company, operates a free-to-air channel; Digicel Fiji operates the Sky Fiji and Sky Pacific multi-channel pay-TV services; state-owned commercial company, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Ltd, operates 6 radio stations - 2 public broadcasters and 4 commercial broadcasters with multiple repeaters; 5 radio stations with repeaters operated by Communications Fiji, Ltd; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available

Internet users

total: 462,860

percent of population: 49.97% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 154

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 13,033

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 16

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,670,216 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 106.83 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 24 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)

under 914 m: 19 (2013)

Railways

total: 597 km (2008)

narrow gauge: 597 km 0.600-m gauge (2008)

note: belongs to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation; used to haul sugarcane during the harvest season, which runs from May to December

country comparison to the world: 109

Roadways

total: 3,440 km (2011)

paved: 1,686 km (2011)

unpaved: 1,754 km (2011)

country comparison to the world: 159

Waterways

203 km (122 km are navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges) (2012)

country comparison to the world: 97

Merchant marine

total: 70

by type: general cargo 18, oil tanker 4, other 48 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 101

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Lautoka, Levuka, Suva

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF): Land Force Command, Maritime Command (2021)

Military expenditures

1.6% of GDP (2019)

1.6% of GDP (2018)

1.5% of GDP (2017)

1.2% of GDP (2016)

1% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 77

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) have about 3,500 personnel (3,200 Land Force; 300 Maritime Command) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the RFMF is lightly armed and equipped; Australia has provided patrol boats and a few armored personnel carriers; it also provides logistical support for RFMF regional or UN operations; in recent years, China has provided construction equipment and military vehicles (2020)

Military deployments

170 Egypt (MFO); 160 Iraq (UNAMI); 130 Golan Heights (UNDOF) (Jan 2021)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 55 (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

maritime boundary dispute with Tonga