Fiji is one of the most economically developed small states in the South Pacific. GDP per capita was estimated at USD 3700 in 2007. However, the distribution of income is very skewed. Since the beginning of the colonial era in 1874, the economy has been dominated by the export industries. Today, tourism is the most important industry.
Political turmoil has hit the economy hard. A significant economic downturn following the 1987 coups was followed by a slow but steady growth in the 1990s. The coup leader, and later the elected prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s regime was highly market oriented; tax reform and deregulation were important elements of the policy. The emigration of well-educated Fiji citizens, especially of Indian origin, accelerated after the 1987 coups and accelerated further after the 2000 coup. Poverty and unemployment then spread across all ethnic groups. In 2002, the government adopted a radical privatization program to prevent collapse in the sugar industry following the withdrawal of EU subsidies, but the industry is still struggling. In 2003, the unemployment rate was officially declared at approx. 7%, but unofficial estimates pointed to 25%.
Agriculture, including fishing, contributed 15% of GDP in 2002 and employed approx. 40% of the labor force. Over 80% of the land is owned by the Native Land Trust Board, which is controlled by the Fijian chieftains. Most of the arable land, however, is leased to small landlords by Indian farmers, but a problem in recent years is that many are not allowed to renew their leases. Agricultural production varies greatly from year to year, but normally sugar cane accounts for as much as 80% of production. 1 / 4of the population is directly dependent on sugar cane production, which i.e. was hit significantly after the 1990 coup, and the country has even had to import sugar. Coconuts and ginger are the most important export products from agriculture. Significant rice production. Poultry, pigs and cattle are kept from livestock. A newer industry is the export of bottled water.
Industry and mining
In 2002, manufacturing and mining accounted for 25.4% of GDP and employed 33.8% of the labor force. The most important sector is food processing, primarily sugar, syrup and copra. Otherwise there is production of cement and other building products. Tax exemption in the industry has encouraged investment in the textile industry, but there has been a decline in recent years.
Important minerals that are extracted are gold and silver, as well as copper mining, which began in 1997.
The energy is mainly based on hydropower.
The country’s most important export products are sugar, gold, fish products (processed and raw) and clothing. Imports include food, fuel and otherwise mostly machinery, vehicles and other finished goods. The main export markets are Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, China and New Zealand. The same countries, with the exception of the United Kingdom, are the main sources of imports.
- COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Fiji, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.
Transport and Communications
Located on the main route between North America and Australia, Fiji is the most important communications center in the southwestern Pacific. There is increasing communication with Asia. The Nadi International Airport on the west coast of Viti Levu is used as a stopover for US-Australia/New Zealand flights. National Air Pacific is flying overseas, while smaller companies like Air Fiji are responsible for connecting the islands. The country lacks real railways, but a narrow-gauge grid (725 km) serves the sugar industry. The road network is relatively well developed and comprises a 500 km long main road around the coast of Viti Levu. The main port city is Suva.
- According to AllCityPopulation, the capital city of Fiji is Suva with a population of 94,000 (on the island of Viti Levu, census 2017). Other major cities include Nasinu with a population of 92,000, Lautoka with a population of 71,000, Nadi with a population of 71,000, Nausori with a population of 58,000, Labasa with a population of 27,000, Lami with a population of 25,000, Ba with a population of 16,000 (2017 census).