(pronounced "lay-SEN-ee-ah kar-ACE-ee")
"I give every citizen this assurance: we will strive for a constitution that works, that unites Fiji and that has genuine public support."
The Republic of Fiji comprises 322 islands spread over 700,000 sq km (270,000 sq mi) of the southwest Pacific Ocean. Total land area is slightly more than 18,270 sq km (7,054 sq mi). The two largest islands are Viti Levu, with an area of 10,388 sq km (4,011 sq mi), and Vanua Levu, which has an area of 5,538 sq km (2,140 sq mi). Geographers consider Fiji the eastern border of Melanesia, but language and traditional culture are more closely linked to the Polynesian islands to the east. These connections are especially close to Tonga in the southeast. Fiji's other near neighbors are Vanuatu to the west and Samoa to the northeast.
Fiji has a multi-ethnic population, estimated in 2002 to total some 856,346. About 52% are Fijians native to the islands, while 43% are Indians or Indo-Fijians, who are descended from laborers brought from India by the British to work on the sugar plantations in the late 1800s. The remaining 5% of Fiji's residents are Europeans, part-Europeans, Chinese, and other Pacific Islanders. English is the main language of business and government. It is widely spoken, along with native Fijian and varieties of Hindi. The main religions are Christianity and Hinduism. A minority of Indo-Fijians are Muslim.
Fiji has the most developed economy in the South Pacific. More than 75% of all households engage in crop production, livestock, forestry, or fishing. Sugar production dominates commercial agriculture, accounting for 40% of that sector. Tourism has been growing over the last decade and exceeds agriculture as a source of foreign exchange earnings. Fiji's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $5,200 in 2001. The unit of currency is the Fijian dollar.
Office of the Prime Minister
PO Box 2353
Government Buildings, Suva
Web site: http://www.fiji.gov.fj