How we are helping
2014/15 Budget Estimate:
Australia's total official development assistance to Fiji was $61.9 million in 2013-14 (estimated outcome), including $34.7 million in bilateral aid and $27.2 million delivered through regional programs. Australia remains Fiji’s largest bilateral grant donor, accounting for an estimated 52.4 per cent of total official development assistance in 2012. This assistance equates to around 1 per cent of Fiji’s GDP or 6 per cent of government revenue.
Fiji is on track to achieve universal primary education (MDG 2), and ensure environmental sustainability (MDG 7). Fiji is showing mixed results for three indicators: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1); promote gender equality and empower women (MDG 3); and combat HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases (MDG 6)1. The Fiji Ministry of Health has advised that Fiji is unlikely to meet its MDG 4 (reduce child mortality) or MDG 5 (improve maternal health) targets by 2015.2
World Bank analysis, funded by the Australian aid program, showed poverty fell nationally from 39.8 per cent in 2003 to around 35.2 per cent in 2009 but the state of poverty since then is not known. While overall poverty rates may have dropped, a large proportion of the population remains just above the poverty line and highly vulnerable to income shocks. An estimated 49 per cent of Fiji's population lives in rural areas, where poverty rates remain markedly higher.
The Fiji program is guided by DFAT’s Fiji Country Strategy, which focuses on the country’s vulnerable and most disadvantaged communities. The Country strategy has three development objectives: improving access to quality education; strengthening primary health services; and building resilience and economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities. The bilateral program has three cross-cutting priorities to reinforce focus and coherence in delivering the aid program across the three objectives: deeper engagement between Fiji and Australia (including through scholarships), support to civil society organisations and humanitarian assistance. Australian aid has assisted Fiji’s transition to democracy by supporting elections and preparations for a new parliament. DFAT is developing a new investment plan to guide Australian aid to Fiji beyond the end of the current strategy.
Major achievements in 2013-2014 included:
- Infrastructure upgrades in 20 schools, providing 4,073 students (1,923 girls and 2,150 boys) from poor and disadvantaged communities with a better place to study.
- Assistance for the provision of immunisations contributed to an increase in the number of children immunised, from 93 per cent in 2008 to 95 per cent in 2013-14.
- Support for the private sector helped leverage over $1.6 million in private sector investment to assist small businesses and improve incomes for the poor.
- Australia responded to a major outbreak of dengue fever that claimed 16 lives and resulted in over 27,000 diagnosed cases, by funding vital medical consumables and helping raise public awareness of the outbreak through a communications campaign.
- Australia’s new focus on enhanced engagement has resulted in technical exchanges between Australian and Fijian Government officials.
- Australian supported elections preparations in Fiji by providing six Australian experts to fill positions in the Fijian Elections Office, including the Deputy Supervisor of Elections. We also co-led a Multinational Observation Group to observe the Fiji elections in September 2014.
- 127 volunteers were funded by the aid program, including 28 in Fiji government agencies. Australia also provided 80 Australia Awards Scholarships for Fijians to study in the Pacific and Australia.