Region: Oceania – Melanesia
Official Language/s: English, Bau Fijian and Hindustani
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Demographics: The population of Fiji is mostly made up of native Fijians of Melanesians background. There is also a small but significant group of descendants of indentured labourers from Solomon Islands. Relationships between ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians at a political level have often been strained and the tension between the two communities has dominated politics in the past.
Politics: Politics of Fiji normally are administered though the Prime Minister of Fiji who is the head of government and the President who is the head of state. Since independence there have been four military coups and as a result the military has been either ruling directly or heavily influencing governments since 1987. In 2006 Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, staged a military takeover against the Prime Minister who as accused of being corrupt and racist.
Economy: Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific as it is blessed with forest, mineral, and fish resources. Economic liberalization in the years following the 1987 coup created a boom in the garment industry and a steady growth rate. Recent GDP growth can be attributed to urbanization and expansion in the service sector and a rapidly growing tourist industry. Fiji is now highly dependent on tourism for revenue and as such the political turmoil in Fiji has had a severe impact on the economy.
Religion: Religion is a major point of difference between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians. Indigenous Fijians are overwhelmingly Christian and Indo-Fijians are Hindu and Muslim. The largest Christian denomination is the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma to which 36.2% of the population identify.
Health: Fiji spends around 2.8% of GDP on health care and services however inadequate health financing and a shortage of health workers continue to hamper health care efforts. Around 70-80% of population has access to health services but only 40% has access to quality health services. During the last few years cardiovascular disease and cancer have become the top two causes of death in Fijian hospitals. This increase has been attributed to hypertension and diabetes mellitus with increasing tenfold among Fijian urban dwellers between 1967 and 1980. Fiji now has the third highest rate per capita of diabetes in the world.