Fiji - Future trends

Before the return of the political problems that gripped Fiji in late 1999 and 2000, Fiji was believed by many observers to have, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "the South Pacific's most promising economy." It was widely believed that Fiji was capable of increasing its production of every major exportable product, and capable of reducing its debt load accordingly. But the recent problems leave the growth of Fiji's economy in doubt. Striking problems remain: rising unemployment; declining investor confidence; a drastic fall in tourist visits, which reverberates throughout the economy; and the lack of any long-term solution to the political conflict between Fijian Indians, who control most of the sugar production companies, and indigenous Fijians, who own most of the land and provide most of the labor. Fiji's problems have left the country both politically and economically isolated, as former allies, potential investors, and tourists have all withdrawn their support from the country. The government's attempts to re-stimulate the economy will continue to fail unless the root causes of Fiji's ethnic tension can be adequately addressed and substantive cooperation achieved, an unlikely prospect in the near future. However, if the potential mediation of outside entities returns Fiji to political stability, the island nation should be well-equipped for further growth.

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