4. ______________________________________________________ 4.1 INTRODUCTION Fiji is the second largest Pacific island country with a total land area of 18,376 km2 and a population of about 905,949 in 2009. Fiji, which comprises 322 islands and coral atolls (of which about 100 are inhabited), is classified as a middle income country with a per capita income of US$3,840 in 2009 (World Bank, 2010). While there has certainly been some growth in the economy, it has however been riddled with problems. Since its independence from British rule in 1970, the four military coups so far have critically destabilised the economy on many fronts and the call for political and economic reform has never been stronger. In April 2009, following the Court of Appeal ruling that the military government of 2006 was illegal, it came as a shock when the President abrogated Fiji’s constitution and reinstated the military government as the caretaker government. Despite calls by the international community for Fiji to hold elections soon, the interim military government has decided to do so only in 2014. Despite some effort towards economic reform before the 2006 military takeover, it was somewhat slow and the political setback coupled with the onset of the 2008 GFC has made the need for policy reform an urgent matter. In this context, two issues are examined – picking winners versus a broad-based sectoral growth policy; direct and indirect impacts of the GFC and the mitigating policies undertaken by the military government. The choice of these issues is...
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