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page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Fiji
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Fiji
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Map of Fiji
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of Fiji
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Introduction ::Fiji
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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 but in January 2007 became interim prime minister. Since taking power BAINIMARAMA has neutralized his opponents, crippled Fiji's democratic institutions, and refused to hold elections.
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Geography ::Fiji
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Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
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18 00 S, 175 00 E
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total: 18,274 sq km
country comparison to the world: 156
land: 18,274 sq km
water: 0 sq km
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slightly smaller than New Jersey
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0 km
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1,129 km
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measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation; rectilinear shelf claim added
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tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation
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mostly mountains of volcanic origin
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Tomanivi 1,324 m
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timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower
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arable land: 10.95%
permanent crops: 4.65%
other: 84.4% (2005)
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30 sq km (2003)
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28.6 cu km (1987)
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total: 0.07 cu km/yr (14%/14%/71%)
per capita: 82 cu m/yr (2000)
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cyclonic storms can occur from November to January
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deforestation; soil erosion
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited
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People ::Fiji
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944,720 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
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0-14 years: 30.3% (male 146,327/female 140,327)
15-64 years: 64.9% (male 307,077/female 305,886)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 20,300/female 24,803) (2009 est.)
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total: 25.5 years
male: 25 years
female: 26 years (2009 est.)
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1.379% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
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21.92 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
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5.66 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
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-2.47 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
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urban population: 52% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 11.58 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 146
male: 12.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 70.73 years
country comparison to the world: 139
male: 68.18 years
female: 73.41 years (2009 est.)
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2.65 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
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0.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
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600 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
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fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 115
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noun: Fijian(s)
adjective: Fijian
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Fijian 57.3% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indian 37.6%, Rotuman 1.2%, other 3.9% (European, other Pacific Islanders, Chinese) (2007 census)
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Christian 64.5% (Methodist 34.6%, Roman Catholic 9.1%, Assembly of God 5.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.9%, Anglican 0.8%, other 10.4%), Hindu 27.9%, Muslim 6.3%, Sikh 0.3%, other or unspecified 0.3%, none 0.7% (2007 census)
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English (official), Fijian (official), Hindustani
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.7%
male: 95.5%
female: 91.9% (2003 est.)
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total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2005)
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6.5% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 30
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Government ::Fiji
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conventional long form: Republic of the Fiji Islands
conventional short form: Fiji
local long form: Republic of the Fiji Islands/Matanitu ko Viti
local short form: Fiji/Viti
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republic
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name: Suva (on Viti Levu)
geographic coordinates: 18 08 S, 178 25 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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4 divisions and 1 dependency*; Central, Eastern, Northern, Rotuma*, Western
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10 October 1970 (from the UK)
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Independence Day, second Monday of October (1970)
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enacted 25 July 1997; effective 28 July 1998; note - it encourages multiculturalism and makes multiparty government mandatory
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based on British system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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21 years of age; universal
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chief of state: Acting-President Ratu Epeli NAILATIKAU (since 30 July 2009); note - former President ILOILOVATU announced his retirement in late July and stepped down effective 30 July 2009; Vice President Ratu Epeli NAILATIKAU will serve as acting-president pending the selection of a new president
head of government: Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE (since 10 September 2000); note - although QARASE is still the legal prime minister, he has been confined to his home island; former President ILOILOVATU appointed Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA interim prime minister under the military regime
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament and is responsible to Parliament; note - coup leader Commodore Voreqe BAINIMARAMA has appointed an interim cabinet
elections: president elected by the Great Council of Chiefs for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); prime minister appointed by the president; election last held 8 March 2006
election results: Ratu Josefa ILOILOVATU Uluivuda elected president by the Great Council of Chiefs; percent of vote - NA
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bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (32 seats; 14 appointed by the president on the advice of the Great Council of Chiefs, 9 appointed by the president on the advice of the Prime Minister, 8 on the advice of the opposition leader, and 1 appointed on the advice of the council of Rotuma) and the House of Representatives (71 seats; 23 reserved for ethnic Fijians, 19 reserved for ethnic Indians, 3 reserved for other ethnic groups, 1 reserved for the council of Rotuma constituency encompassing the whole of Fiji, and 25 open seats; members serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 6-13 May 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - SDL 44.6%, FLP 39.2%, UPP 0.8%, independents 4.9%, other 10.5%; seats by party - SDL 36, FLP 31, UPP 2, independents 2
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Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); Court of Appeal; High Court; Magistrates' Courts
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Dodonu Ni Taukei Party or DNT [Fereti S. DEWA]; Fiji Democratic Party or FDP [Filipe BOLE] (a merger of the Christian Democrat Alliance or VLV [Poesci Waqalevu BUNE], Fijian Association Party or FAP, Fijian Political Party or SVT (primarily Fijian) [Sitiveni RABUKA], and New Labor Unity Party or NLUP [Ofa SWANN]); Fiji Labor Party or FLP [Mahendra CHAUDHRY]; General Voters Party or GVP (became part of United General Party); Girmit Heritage Party or GHP; Justice and Freedom Party or AIM; Lio 'On Famor Rotuma Party or LFR; National Federation Party or NFP (primarily Indian) [Pramond RAE]; Nationalist Vanua Takolavo Party or NVTLP [Saula TELAWA]; Party of National Unity or PANU [Ponipate LESAVUA]; Party of the Truth or POTT; United Fiji Party/Sogosogo Duavata ni Lewenivanua or SDL [Laisenia QARASE]; United Peoples Party or UPP [Millis Mick BEDDOES]
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Group Against Racial Discrimination or GARD [Dr. Anirudk SINGH] (for restoration of a democratic government); Viti Landowners Association
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ACP, ADB, C (suspended), CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OPCW, PCA, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Winston THOMPSON
chancery: 2000 M Street, NW, Suite 710, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 466-8320
FAX: [1] (202) 466-8325
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chief of mission: Ambassador C. Steven McGANN
embassy: 31 Loftus Street, Suva
mailing address: P. O. Box 218, Suva
telephone: [679] 331-4466
FAX: [679] 330-0081
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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 Saint George featuring stalks of sugarcane, a palm tree, bananas, and a white dove
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Economy ::Fiji
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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 400,000 to 500,000 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 December 2006 coup and is facing an uncertain recovery time. In 2007 tourist arrivals were down almost 6%, with substantial job losses in the service sector, and GDP dipped nearly 7%. The coup has created a difficult business climate. The EU has suspended all aid until the interim government takes steps toward new elections. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the government's inability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have decreased significantly. Fiji's current account deficit reached 23% of GDP in 2006.
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$3.579 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
$3.572 billion (2007 est.)
$3.824 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$3.59 billion (2008 est.)
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0.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
-6.6% (2007 est.)
3.4% (2006 est.)
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$3,800 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
$3,900 (2007 est.)
$4,200 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 8.9%
industry: 13.5%
services: 77.6% (2004 est.)
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335,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
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agriculture: 70%
industry and services: 30% (2001 est.)
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7.6% (1999)
country comparison to the world: 100
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25.5% (FY90/91)
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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revenues: $1.363 billion
expenditures: $1.376 billion (2006)
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4.8% (2007)
country comparison to the world: 81
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6.32% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 47
9.25% (31 December 2007)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 93
9.01% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 119
$1.042 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 118
$1.088 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 115
$1.948 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 103
$522.2 million (31 December 2007)
$636.7 million (31 December 2006)
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sugarcane, coconuts, cassava (tapioca), rice, sweet potatoes, bananas; cattle, pigs, horses, goats; fish
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tourism, sugar, clothing, copra, gold, silver, lumber, small cottage industries
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NA%
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928 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
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863 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
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10,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
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2,455 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
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20,340 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 58
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 181
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$-507 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
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$1.202 billion (2006)
country comparison to the world: 146
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sugar, garments, gold, timber, fish, molasses, coconut oil
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US 15.2%, UK 11.6%, Australia 10.3%, Samoa 5.2%, Tonga 4.6%, Japan 4.1% (2008)
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$3.12 billion (2006)
country comparison to the world: 138
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manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, food, chemicals
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Singapore 30.8%, Australia 20.7%, NZ 15.6%, China 5.4% (2008)
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$127 million (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
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$6.702 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
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$NA
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Fijian dollars (FJD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 1.7313 (2006), 1.691 (2005), 1.7331 (2004), 1.8958 (2003)
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Communications ::Fiji
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129,100 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 139
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600,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 151
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general assessment: modern local, interisland, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio communications center
domestic: telephone or radio telephone links to almost all inhabited islands; most towns and large villages have automatic telephone exchanges and direct dialing; combined fixed and mobile-cellular density is about 80 per 100 persons
international: country code - 679; access to important cable links between US and Canada as well as between NZ and Australia; satellite earth stations - 2 Inmarsat (Pacific Ocean) (2008)
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AM 13, FM 40, shortwave 0 (1998)
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NA
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.fj
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12,747 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 114
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103,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 152
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Transportation ::Fiji
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28 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 118
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total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)
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total: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 19 (2009)
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total: 597 km
country comparison to the world: 111
narrow gauge: 597 km 0.600-m gauge
note: belongs to the government-owned Fiji Sugar Corporation; used to haul sugarcane during the harvest season, which runs from May to December (2008)
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total: 3,440 km
country comparison to the world: 163
paved: 1,692 km
unpaved: 1,748 km (2000)
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203 km
country comparison to the world: 98
note: 122 km navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges (2008)
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total: 9
country comparison to the world: 116
by type: passenger 3, passenger/cargo 4, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Australia 1) (2008)
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Lautoka, Suva
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Military ::Fiji
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Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF): Land Forces, Naval Forces (2009)
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; reserve obligation to age 45 (2006)
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males age 16-49: 242,567
females age 16-49: 238,556 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 192,363
females age 16-49: 204,410 (2009 est.)
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male: 9,107
female: 8,755 (2009 est.)
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2.2% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
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Transnational Issues ::Fiji
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none
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current situation: Fiji is a source country for children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and a destination country for a small number of women from China and India trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 3 - Fiji does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government has demonstrated no action to investigate or prosecute traffickers, assist victims, take steps to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts, or support any anti-trafficking information or education campaigns; Fiji has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)
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