Fiji



Official Country Name
Fiji

Fiji Overview
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 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.

Fiji Economy
Fiji, 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. Fiji's sugar has special access to European Union markets, but will be harmed by the EU's decision to cut sugar subsidies. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity but is not efficient. Fiji's 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 government's ability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have increased significantly.

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

Region
Fiji is located in Oceania

Fiji Population
Fiji has population of 905,949 (July 2006 est.)

Fiji Climate
Fiji has tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Fiji Terrain
mostly mountains of volcanic origin

Fiji Natural Resources
timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower

Ethnic Groups in Fiji
Fiji has the following ethnic groups - Fijian 51% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indian 44%, European, other Pacific Islanders, Chinese, and other 5% (1998 est.)

Fiji Religions
Christian 52% (includes 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

Fiji Languages
English (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani

Fiji Capital
Fiji capital is Suva (on Viti Levu)

Fiji Currency
Fiji currency is Fijian dollar

Map of Fiji