Economic diversification is key for Fiji

Fiji’s recovery is good; however it needs to diversify its economy said Dr Kishti Sen, ANZ Pacific Economist, during his visit to Fiji last week.

“Our expectations towards the end of last year was that the tourism recovery would be strong due to the inbound demand for leisure travellers, and we have seen that,” said Dr Sen.

ANZ Country Head, Rabih Yazbek anticipates growth in post-pandemic travel to Fiji to continue, due to pent up demand for travel, Australia’s proximity and the increasing number of airlines flying to Fiji- some 150 flights a month.

Dr Sen expects the economy to return to 2019 levels by the end of this year or early 2023. “The GDP increase of 23.2% this year is expected to get (the economy) to 2019.”

However, he cautions against total dependence on tourism to drive growth.

“We have done well but we cannot get carried away… the shift to a diversified economy has not happened and it needs to happen quickly,” Dr Sen said.

He identifies sectors such as business services, information, communications and technology, manufacturing and construction as areas of potential growth.

Dr Sen added that Fiji can do more in exporting commodities such as mineral water, sugar, turmeric, kava and commercial agricultural products.

Sen says policy makers need to ask themselves “where do we go from here?”

Meanwhile, Yazbek says FJ$200 million worth of investments and developments is projected between Nadi and Lautoka, and another FJ$250 million medical projects is also expected to come online. “We are starting to see some diversification and we need a lot more” he said.