The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency


World Factbook (1982) Fiji.jpg
(See reference map X)


18,272 km2; consists of more than 300 islands and many more coral atolls and cays; the larger islands, Viti Levu, Taveuni, and Kadavu are all mountainous and volcanic in origin, with peaks rising over 1,210 meters; landownership—83.6% Fijians, 1.7% Indians, 6.4% government, 7.2% European, 1.1% other; about 30% of land area is suitable for farming


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): (economic zone 200 nm)

Coastline: 1,129 km


Population: 654,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.8%

Nationality: noun—Fijian(s); adjective—Fijian

Ethnic divisions: 50% Indian, 44% Fijian, 6% European, Chinese, and others

Religion: Fijians mainly Christian, Indians are Hindu with a Muslim minority

Language: English and Fijian (official), Hindustani spoken among Indians

Literacy: over 80%

Labor force: 176,000 (1979); 43.8% agriculture, 15.6% industry

Organized labor: about 50% of labor force organized into 22 unions; unions organized along lines of work, breakdown by ethnic origin causes further fragmentation


Official name: Fiji

Type: independent parliamentary state within Commonwealth; Elizabeth II recognized as chief of state

Capital: Suva located on the south coast of the island of Viti Levu

Political subdivisions: 14 provinces

Legal system: based on British

National holiday: 10 October

Branches: executive—Prime Minister; legislative—52-member House of Representatives (Alliance Party 36 seats, National Federation Party 15 seats, 1 independent); 22-member appointed Senate; judicial—Supreme Court

Government leader: Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese MARA

Suffrage: universal adult

Elections: every five years unless House dissolves earlier, last held September 1977

Political parties: Alliance, primarily Fijian, headed by Ratu Mara; National Federation, primarily Indian, headed by Jai Ram Reddy

Communists: few, no figures available

Member of: ADB, Colombo Plan, Commonwealth, EEC (associate), FAO, G-77, GATT (de facto), IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, ISO, ITU, UN, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO


GNP: $811 million (1979), $1,300 per capita; 6% real growth rate (1979)

Agriculture: main crops—sugar, coconut products, bananas, ginger, rice; major deficiency, grains

Major industries: sugar processing, tourism

Electric power: 117,000 kW capacity (1981); 351 million kWh produced (1981), 550 kWh per capita

Exports: $258.0 million (f.o.b., 1979, including reexports totaling $56.9 million); 57.8% sugar, 5.4% coconut oil

Imports: $471.4 million (c.i.f., 1979); 23.0% machinery, fuels, chemicals, 19.0% manufactured goods, 18.4% petroleum, 17.0% food

Major trade partners: UK, New Zealand, US, Canada, Australia, Japan

Aid: disbursed 1978—UK, Australia, and New Zealand, $42.3 million

Budget: (FY80) outlays $280 million (current prices)

Monetary conversion rate: Fijian dollar=US$1.2 (1979)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 644 km narrow gauge (0.610 m); owned by Fiji Sugar Corp., Ltd.

Highways: 2,960 km total (1981); 390 km paved, 2,150 km gravel, crushed stone, or stabilized soil surface; 420 unimproved earth

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

Ports: 1 major, 6 minor

Civil air: 1 DC-3 and 1 light aircraft

Airfields: 15 total, 15 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways, 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: modern local, interisland, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio center; important COMPAC cable link between US/Canada and New Zealand/Australia, et al.; 37,515 telephones (6.0 per 100 popl.); 7 AM and 2 FM stations; no TV stations; 1 ground satellite station


Military manpower: males 15-49, 169,000; 95,000 fit for military service; 7,000 reach military age (18) annually

Military budget: the defense of the Fiji Islands was the responsibility of the UK until 10 October 1970; military budget for 1979, $11.1 million; 4% of central government budget