Fiji Country Report
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama's government is stable. His links with the military mean that coup and civil-unrest risks are reduced. The government actively seeks foreign investment, particularly into infrastructure development, and Chinese firms have to date been the most active in this sector. Damage from Cyclone Winston in February 2016 was extensive, but the recovery process, including a USD23-million subsidy provided to sugar cane farmers in June 2016, supported a degree of economic recovery in the 2017 fiscal year. Bainimarama is eager for Fiji to play a leadership role among the Pacific Islands and will seek to reduce reliance on Australia and New Zealand by strengthening ties with China and India.
The government seeks concessionary loans to fund infrastructure projects (transport links across the country remain unreliable) and is particularly open to foreign participation in this sector, which has to date mainly come from Chinese firms. The risk of business disruption is compounded by environmental disasters – the most recent of which, Cyclone Winston in February 2016, caused extensive damage. However, the Fiji Roads Authority allocated USD23 million for repairing 13 bridges and crossings specifically damaged by cyclones.
Ammunition was discovered near Lautoka in January 2017, prompting the opposition party to call for a military counter-terrorism unit. The police commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho, has expressed similar views and stressed the possibility of a larger network that may be transporting weapons through Fiji. However, the terrorist threat remains negligible.
Relations with Samoa are strained by Samoa's acceptance of Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific Islands Forum and Fiji's resistance. However, the risk of interstate war is negligible. In August 2017, the Canadian Navy sent a team of sailors to train members of Fiji's maritime forces.
The relationship between Fiji's indigenous and Indo-Fijian populations has triggered civil unrest in the past but is currently benign. Indo-Fijians' political representation has been reduced since the 2014 election because parliament is currently dominated by two largely ethnic-Fijian parties. In the unlikely event that ethnic rivalry leads to protests, the government would quickly direct the military to restore order, limiting risk to property. Additionally, several families on Cikobia are still awaiting government assistance to rebuild their homes. Such delays in government support following Cyclone Winston in February 2016 continue to have the potential to trigger social unrest.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and for travelers who have been in transit for >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Fiji has a tropical climate with average temperatures fluctuating between 20°C and 32°C throughout the archipelago. Temperatures remain relatively steady from season to season, although summers (November to March) are slightly hotter and more humid than the rest of the year. The dry season lasts from May until October and the rainy season from December to April. Cyclones can strike between November and April.
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