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Development assistance in Fiji

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Pillar 3 – economic recovery in Fiji

Overview

Australia is committed to supporting Fiji's economic recovery from the severe impacts of COVID-19. We have provided significant fiscal support to the Government of Fiji and are supporting Fiji’s tourism-led economic recovery from the COVID-19 downturn. We are working with partners, including banks, to assist micro, small and medium enterprises to access finance; develop new markets and refresh marketing strategies for Fijian tourism following tax cuts in the 2020-2021 budget to make the sector more competitive. The Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) is also stepping up its activities in Fiji to support Fiji’s private and public infrastructure needs.

Related initiatives

Budget support

Recognising the severe impact of COVID-19 on Fiji's economy, Australia has provided significant budget support grants to the Government of Fiji during the pandemic. In 2020-21, Australia provided Fiji with a total of $83.5 million in fiscal support to fund vital services, including $20 million for top-up payments which benefitted over 102,000 people who were recipients of Fiji’s Poverty Benefit Scheme, Care and Protection Allowance and the Disability Allowance. In 2021-22, Australia provided Fiji with an additional $85 million in fiscal support to support economic recovery efforts.

DFAT-IFC partnership: supporting private sector development

Up to $8 million 2022-2025

We are partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support the Fiji Government to achieve its economic development priorities of improving small-medium enterprise performance, building Fiji's international trade competitiveness and stimulating inclusive private sector-led growth.  The key goal of the partnership is to improve the competitiveness of the private sector in Fiji and to stimulate and inclusive and sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19 by increasing private investment.

The partnership focuses on creating concrete opportunities for inclusive, sustainable private investment in support of COVID-19 recovery and medium-term economic growth through targeted advisory interventions. Importantly, the partnership seeks to lock in resilient, gender- and climate-smart private sector development.

The partnership builds on the successes of, and learning from, phase 1, whilst pivoting to address new needs emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Related documents

Name of document Year published
Fiji Partnership review and management response 2020

Market Development Facility (MDF)

Up to $17.5 million for Phase 2, 2017 – 2022

Market Development Facility (MDF) is a multi-country program that began in Fiji in 2011 and has since expanded to Timor Leste (2012), PNG and Sri Lanka (2015). MDF stimulates business innovation and private sector investment for development outcomes, particularly poverty reduction and women's economic empowerment.

Following strong results from Phase 1, Australia extended the MDF program in Fiji for five years, 2017-2022. Market Development Facility (MDF) Phase 2 commenced in July 2017 and is for 5 years (until June 2022). The MDF Fiji budget for Phase 2 is $17.5 million, almost double its budget in Phase 1. MDF's outcomes are: (i) increased competitiveness of sectors that involve poor men and women; and (ii) supporting local firms to create new market opportunities that benefits poor people. It aims to achieve these outcomes by facilitating partnerships with market actors (public and private) to address market failures and facilitate systemic, market-wide changes that are sustained by market actors after MDF's activities conclude. MDF aims to implement approximately 65 partnerships and 12 formal influencing events to achieve the following results by 2026: reach 48,500 beneficiaries, leverage USD5m in private investment, and generate USD18.5m in market transactions and 2,250 jobs.

MDF has reoriented its activities Fiji to support businesses recovery from COVID-19. Its interventions have supported the local production of hand sanitiser and face shields, the provision of business counselling and the development of food delivery and mobile money apps.  MDF has also supported tourism operators to target local tourists by providing market intelligence and advice.

Pacific Labour Mobility

Fiji joined the Pacific Labour Scheme in April 2019. The Scheme is helping to meet business demand across all sectors in rural and regional Australia. Workers from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are currently able to apply for low and semi-skilled employment in Australia under the Scheme.

From April 2022, the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme will be consolidated, reformed and replaced by a more flexible and efficient single program called the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.

Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access - PHAMA Plus

Up to $36 million, 2018 – 2022

PHAMA Plus has identified kava and root crops as the lead commodities that it will focus on. In kava, PHAMA Plus aims to develop a self-regulating and profitable kava industry supplying a diverse range of products/markets as a result of increased volume of supply and importing country confidence through adherence to export compliance. In Root Crops, PHAMA Plus would like to see improved farming practices to produce high volume, high quality taro and exporters who are willing to invest in processing and/or value add that meets export compliance to deepen existing or to access new markets.

With the drastic reduction in passenger flights resulting from COVID-19, the cost of air freight from Fiji increased by an average of 200 per cent. PHAMA Plus liaised with exporters, business organisations, Fiji Airways and other freight providers to encourage uptake of the once weekly services which continued to fly to Sydney, Auckland and Los Angeles with the focus on maintaining existing markets. Uptake of the available flights by fresh produce exporters was high.

Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP)

In June 2021, the AIFFP, alongside ANZ Fiji, signed a FJD106 million ($68 million) loan to Airports Fiji Pte Ltd (AFL) – the main provider of air services in Fiji. The loan will fund essential maintenance and capital works at Nadi International Airport and several outer islands’ airports, refinances existing debt and supports the infrastructure priorities of AFL. The AIFFP is also financing up to $5 million for flood mitigation work for the Nadi Flood Alleviation Project, a top infrastructure priority for the Government of Fiji.

Supporting programs

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