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Fiji country brief


The Republic of Fiji is an archipelago of 322 islands, with an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.26 million square kilometres. According to the World Bank, Fiji's 2021 predicted population was 929,766. Suva is Fiji's capital. Fiji's major languages are English, Fijian and Hindi, and its major religions are Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.

Political overview

The head of government is Prime Minister Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, leader of the People's Alliance Party, who was elected Prime Minister by the Parliament with support from the National Federation Party (NFP), led by Deputy Prime Minister Biman Prasad, and the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA), led by Deputy Prime Minister Viliame Gavoka, following Fiji's 14 December 2022 election. Fiji's head of state, who is appointed by parliament, is President Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere. Inia Seruiratu of the party, is Leader of the Opposition in parliament.

Political history

Fiji became independent in 1970 after nearly a century as a British colony. On independence, Fiji adopted a constitutional democratic form of government based on the Westminster system. A series of coups (1987, 2000 and 2006) slowed Fiji's progress to its current parliamentary democracy under the 2013 Constitution of Fiji. Fiji has a  55-seat unicameral parliament.

The last coup occurred on 5 December 2006, led by then Commodore Bainimarama who was appointed Interim Prime Minister in January 2007. The Australian Government, in concert with other countries, the UN Security Council, the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum, strongly condemned the military's unconstitutional removal of Fiji's elected government. While travel restrictions and the suspension of bilateral defence cooperation occurred, Australia maintained a substantial development assistance program to support the people of Fiji.

After significant progress towards democracy was made by Interim Prime Minister Bainimarama, then-Foreign Minister Julie Bishop lifted Australia's travel restrictions on 31 March 2014. National elections were held on 17 September 2014. Seen as a critical step in Fiji's peaceful transition to democracy, the Australian Government lifted all remaining restrictions and resumed its Defence Cooperation Program. Fiji was welcomed back into the Commonwealth on 26 September 2014 and the Pacific Islands Forum on 22 October 2014.

Fiji has long been a strong advocate on the impacts of climate change in the Pacific. It was a founding member of the Pacific Islands Forum, serving as Chair in 2022.

Fiji is a member of international organisations including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

Bilateral relations

The Republic of Fiji established formal diplomatic relations with Australia immediately following its independence on 10 October 1970.

Australia and Fiji share a strong and enduring bilateral relationship, underpinned by the 'Fiji-Australia Vuvale Partnership' which was first signed on 16 September 2019. A renewed and elevated version of the partnership was signed on 18 October 2023 during a visit by Fiji's Prime Minister Rabuka to Australia . The term 'vuvale', which means family in Fijian, was chosen to reflect the depth, breadth, and warmth of our relationship. The renewed Partnership elevates a shared commitment to tackling climate change and strengthening our economic and trade partnership. It also has an increased focus on human development, First Nations' peoples and culture, skills development and cyber security. It continues to underpin the deep security, economic, human development and people-to-people links between both countries.

On 25 May 2022, in her first week as Foreign Minister, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong travelled to Fiji, demonstrating the importance Australia places on our relationship with Fiji. This was reaffirmed during her bilateral visit to Fiji in September 2023 and Prime Minister Rabuka's visit to Australia in October 2023.

For more information on Australia's engagement with Fiji, please see Australia - Fiji engagement.

Trade and investment ties

Given its reliance on tourism, Fiji's economy was severely impacted by the pandemic. With the return of tourism since borders reopened in December 2021, Fiji is estimating strong economic growth of 20 per cent in 2022 and is forecasting growth of 8 per cent in 2023.

In Fiji’s most recent budget, there was a strong commitment to fiscal reform and debt sustainability. In April 2023 the Government of Fiji hosted the inaugural National Economic Summit, which produced 14 key resolutions to secure the economic future of all Fijians which included reinforcing the need for sound fiscal discipline in Government in both revenue raising and expenditure.

Fiji and Australia have strong trade and investment ties. Australia is one of Fiji's major trading partners and a source of foreign investment for Fiji. Australian investments in Fiji are focused on tourism, the financial sector and manufacturing.

Major Australian exports to Fiji include wheat, liquified propane and butane, meat and paper, and major Fiji exports to Australia include gold, textiles and cereals.

For more information on the bilateral trade and investment relationship, please see the Fiji economic fact sheet.

Development assistance

Please see the overview of Australia's aid program to Fiji and the Fiji development fact sheet.

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