Fiji is much more than idyllic palm trees and white sand. Blessed with rich forest, mineral and fishing resources, Fiji is one of the most developed Pacific Island economies and serves as a hub for many small island nations in the region.
However, a chronic lack of investment and under-employment pose obstacles to sustainable and equitable economic growth. Poverty and inequality continue to be a major challenge, with 35 percent of Fijian citizens living below the poverty line.
In rural areas, indigenous Fijian families have access to community-owned land on which they can build homes, provided that they can afford construction costs.
In urban and suburban areas, both Indo-Fijians and indigenous Fijians have difficulty finding sufficient, affordable land with secure tenure.
It is estimated that about 140,000 people, or 17 percent of Fiji’s population, live in one of more than 180 squatter or informal settlements.
An estimated 80 percent of people living in these settlements live below the national poverty line, earning less than 90 Fiji dollars (US$50) a week.
The poorest households lack important facilities, including piped water, adequate sanitation, electricity and rubbish disposal.