Fiji is the most populous Pacific island nation after Papua New Guinea and a popular tourist destination. It is one of the most developed and connected island economies.
Agriculture is a source of (mostly informal) income for the bulk of the population and makes a moderate but far below potential contribution to growth. Fiji has an important sugar industry and could develop its forest, mineral and fish resources.
Australia and Fiji have an enduring relationship, underpinned by strong connections between people and longstanding trade and investment. A stable and prosperous Fiji active in the Pacific community is in Australia’s national interest.
Rising inequality in Fiji means that development assistance must focus on the disadvantaged and marginalised: the rural poor, women, and disabled people. Fewer school-age children are literate or numerate, and life expectancy has stagnated. Limited economic opportunities, particularly in rural areas, create poverty, and more than 15% of the population live in informal settlements.
Australia’s aid program will work with the Government of Fiji to help the country develop. Australian aid will complement other donors, and work with the public and private sectors.
Tropical Cyclone Winston (February–March 2016) damaged Fiji’s aquaculture. A new multispecies hatchery was constructed at Rakiraki, including indoor facilities, outdoor tanks and broodstock brought in from other centres that were destroyed.
The cyclone damaged forests, and affected many people and places. The most affected plantations are in north-eastern and western Viti Levu; up to 70% of trees may be damaged in some community pine plantations. Trees are 11–37 years old and the local people will salvage the timber to rebuild houses in the area. A teak plantation in north-eastern Viti Levu sustained significant damage.