Oceania

Fiji Overview

(Republic of the Fiji Islands; Kai Vakarairai ni Fiji). State of Oceania (18,272 km²). Capital: Suva. Population: 881,065 (2013 estimate). Language: English, Fijian, Hindī (official). Religion: Christians 64.4%, Hindus 27.9%, Muslims 6.3%, Sikhs 0.3%, others 1.1%. Monetary unit: Fijian dollar (100 cents). Human Development Index: 0.724 (88th place). Borders: Pacific Ocean. Member of: Commonwealth, UN, PC and WTO, EU associate.

THE STATE

A former British colony since 1970, Fiji is an independent presidential republic within the Commonwealth from which it has been expelled on repeated occasions (1987 and 2000) due to the presence of racist articles in the Constitution. According to the new text, approved in 1998 (and in which the discriminatory rules were abolished), the executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, appointed for 5 five years by the Grand Council of Chiefs (made up of 70 Melanesian Fijian tribal chiefs); the legislative power belongs to the bicameral Parliament (in office for 5 years), made up of the House of Representatives (whose members are elected) and the Senate (whose members are appointed by the head of state and other government officials). The judicial system is based on the British Common Law; justice is administered in first and second instance Courts, Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court. The death penalty was abolished for ordinary crimes. The armed forces of the country are made up of a land and a sea corps and the military service is carried out on a voluntary basis from the age of 18. As for the school system, education in Fiji is not compulsory, but the illiteracy rate in the country is quite low (7.1% in 2004). Primary school and secondary school last 6 years, and start at 6 and 12 years of age. According to andyeducation, higher education is taught at colleges and at the South Pacific University headquarters, which opened in 1968.

HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

When the British colonization began, the population of the archipelago, estimated at around 200,000 units, was made up almost entirely of Fijians, who came in remote times from Melanesia. Decimated in contact with the whites by very serious epidemics, the residents of Fiji were reduced to approx. 80,000 individuals; For the work in the sugar cane plantations, large contingents of Indians were brought in, who, thanks to a very high rate of natural growth, ended up prevailing numerically, even if economic power is generally in the hands of the Fijians. Only since the 1980s, following the ethnic clashes that broke out on the islands, the coups and the emigration of part of the Indian component, did the Fijians return to being the majority group (56.8% against 37, 5% of Indians). There are also minorities of Europeans and Chinese, who mainly reside in urban areas and engage in commercial activities. The population density is 48 residents / km², but most of the population lives in Viti Levu, the rest mostly in Vanua Levu, gathering in the more intensely cultivated coastal strips; maximum center is the capital, Suva, whose urban agglomeration welcomes more than a quarter of the residents of Fiji. The city is one of the major cities of the oceanic islands and, in addition to hosting many commercial and industrial enterprises, it exercises an important cultural function as the seat of the University of the South Pacific.

ECONOMY

The country’s economy is essentially based on agriculture, in particular on the cultivation of sugar cane, the main export product. Its production, which increased during the twentieth century, subsequently decreased due to the climatic conditions and the situation of the international market, stabilizing in 2005. Coconut palm, which supplies copra and coconut oil, bananas, are also grown. rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, yam and corn. In recent years, the separation between commercial agriculture, previously practiced mainly by the Indian population, and subsistence agriculture, mainly in the hands of the indigenous population, has been attenuated; the Fijians are present today in the two sectors in equal percentage. § Food production also includes small quantities of poultry, cattle, goats and pigs; fishing, on the other hand, has seen an increase which allows it to satisfy internal demand and feed a modest flow of exports. § Forests represent a fair amount of wealth, providing a quantity of wood sufficient for internal needs; Finally, discrete quantities of gold, silver, copper and manganese are extracted from the subsoil. § L’ industry mainly concerns the processing of local agricultural products and includes sugar factories, oil mills, tobacco factories, breweries, non-alcoholic beverage factories, soap factories, etc. In addition to increasing agriculture, the government has set out to develop the industry, in particular that of clothing, through some tax breaks. The industrialization process was also favored by the availability of hydroelectric energy, which made it possible to reduce imports of hydrocarbons. § Trade is of considerable importance, fueled by the passage of products from the Japanese industry to free port. § Finally, tourism is an important function in the national economy, which represents the second source of currency income: in addition to the beautiful landscapes and a very mild climate, the country can count on its favorable geographical position, being located on the major routes between Australia, New Zealand and North America; in 2005 almost half a million visitors were registered; however, following the regime change, tourism has experienced a significant decline. In 2008, Fiji’s GDP was US $ 3,590 million, while GDP per capita of US $ 4,095. The trade balance, however, was passive: exports, represented by sugar, coconut oil, molasses, gold, timber, fish, clothing, covered about 60% of imports in which, alongside food and fuel, prevail. machinery and industrial products. Negative effects on the economy have had both the ten-year exit from the Commonwealth (1987-97) and the continuing political instability, which have reduced the contribution of currency deriving from tourism. The exchange takes place mainly with Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore and the United States. § The road system is well developed, and the rail network is 597 km. There are three main ports, that of Suva, that of Lautoka and that of Levuka; Nadi International Airport, approx.

Fiji Overview