World Factbook (1990) Fiji.jpg

 See regional map X


Total area: 18,270 km²; land area: 18,270 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 1,129 km

Maritime claims: (measured from claimed archipelagic baselines)

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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: 8% arable land; 5% permanent crops; 3% meadows and pastures; 65% forest and woodland; 19% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: subject to hurricanes from November to January; includes 332 islands of which approximately 110 are in- habited

Note: located 2,500 km north of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean


Population: 759,567 (July 1990), growth rate 1.5% (1990)

Birth rate: 28 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -7 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 22 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 66 years male, 70 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.3 children born/woman (1990)

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

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

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

Language: English (official); Fijian; Hindustani

Literacy: 80%

Labor force: 176,000; 60% subsistence agriculture, 40% wage earners (1979)

Organized labor: about 45,000 employees belong to some 46 trade unions, which are organized along lines of work and ethnic origin (1983)


Long-form name: Republic of Fiji

Type: military coup leader Major General 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)

Constitution: 10 October 1970 (suspended 1 October 1987); note—a new constitution was proposed on 23 September 1988 and awaits final approval

Legal system: based on British system

National holiday: Independence Day, 10 October (1970)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: the bicameral Parliament, consisting of an upper house or Senate and a lower house or House of Representatives, was dissolved following the coup of 14 May 1987; the proposed constitution of NA September 1988 provides for a bicameral Parliament

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Ratu Sir Penaia Kanatabatu GANILAU (since 5 December 1987);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese MARA (since 5 December 1987); note—Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara served as prime minister from 10 October 1970 until the 5-11 April 1987 election; after a second coup led by Major General Sitiveni Rabuka on 25 September 1987, Ratu Mara was reappointed as prime minister

Political parties and leaders: Alliance, primarily Fijian, Ratu Mara; National Federation, primarily Indian, Siddiq Koya; Western United Front, Fijian, Ratu Osea Gavidi; Fiji Labor Party, Adi Kuini Bavadra; coalition of the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labor Party, Adi Kuini Vuikaba Bavadra

Suffrage: none

Elections: none

Communists: some


Diplomatic representation: Counselor (Commercial), Vice Consul, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Abdul H. YUSUF; Chancery at Suite 240, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone (202) 337-8320; there is a Fijian Consulate in New York; US—Ambassador Leonard ROCHWARGER; Embassy at 31 Loftus Street, Suva (mailing address is P. O. Box 218, Suva); telephone [679] 314-466 or 314-069

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 St. 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 are a major source of foreign exchange and sugar processing accounts for one-third of industrial output. Industry, including sugar milling, contributes 10% to GDP. Fiji traditionally earned considerable sums of hard currency from the 250,000 tourists who visited each year. In 1987, however, after two military coups, the economy went into decline. GDP dropped by 7.8% in 1987 and by another 2.5% in 1988; political uncertainly created a drop in tourism, and the worst drought of the century caused sugar production to fall sharply. In contrast, sugar and tourism turned in strong performances in 1989, and the economy rebounded vigorously.

GDP: $1.32 billion, per capita $1,750; real growth rate 12.5% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 11.8% (1988)

Unemployment rate: 11% (1988)

Budget: revenues $260 million; expenditures $233 million, including capital expenditures of $47 million (1988)

Exports: $312 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—sugar 49%, copra, processed fish, lumber; partners—UK 45%, Australia 21%, US 4.7%

Imports: $454 million (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—food 15%, petroleum products, machinery, consumer goods; partners—US 4.8%, NZ, Australia, Japan

External debt: $398 million (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -15% (1988 est.)

Electricity: 215,000 kW capacity; 330 million kWh produced, 440 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: principal cash crop is sugarcane; coconuts, cassava, rice, sweet potatoes, and bananas; small livestock sector includes cattle, pigs, horses, and goats

Aid: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1980-87), $677 million

Currency: Fijian dollar (plural—dollars); 1 Fijian dollar (F$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Fijian dollars (F$) per US$1—1.4950 (January 1990), 1.4833 (1989), 1.4303 (1988), 1.2439 (1987), 1.1329 (1986), 1.1536 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 644 km 0.610-meter narrow gauge, belonging to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation

Highways: 3,300 km total (1984)—390 km paved; 1,200 km bituminous-surface treatment; 1,290 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: Lambasa, Lautoka, Savusavu, Suva

Merchant marine: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 42,872 GRT/49,795 DWT; includes 1 cargo, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 2 container, 2 liquefied gas, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 chemical tanker

Civil air: 1 DC-3 and 1 light aircraft

Airports: 26 total, 24 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 2 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; 53,228 telephones; stations—7 AM, 1 FM, no TV; 1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: integrated ground and naval forces

Military manpower: males 15-49, 194,433; 107,317 fit for military service; 7,864 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 2.5% of GDP (1988)