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What is the Need and Extent of Poverty in Fiji?
The Human Development Index ranked Fiji 100 out of 187 in 2011. 40% of the population lives below the poverty line and only 15% of the population are salaried workers. The unmet demand for credit for households with very low income is estimated at US$12 million.
SPBD Microfinance Ltd (Fiji)
Following on the success of its operations in Samoa and Tonga, SPBD Microfinance Limited (Fiji) Ltd. was launched in November 2010 to make available the benefits of microfinance to the low-income and disadvantaged women of the Fiji Islands who constitute 35% of the population. With over 3,000 clients and a loan portfolio of FJ$1,100,000 (approx. US$600,000), SPBD has already become the largest MFI in Fiji. In addition over 5,600 savings accounts have been opened with total savings of over FJD500,000 (about USD270,000). Over the next five years, SPBD expects to be able to serve cumulatively at least 22,000 women and their respective households by providing them unsecured loans (for business, home improvement, and education) with very affordable interest rates, training, savings and insurance facilities. It is the aim of the company that these clients are able to improve their earnings capacities, develop leadership qualities and skills in managing their businesses and finances so that they can have a better quality of life
SPBD expects to be financially self-sufficient at the end of 2013.About Fiji:
80% of the 944,720 inhabitants live on the two main islands, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.
Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the most developed of the Pacific island economies though still with a large subsistence sector. Sugar exports, remittances from Fijians working abroad, and a growing tourist industry - with 400,000 to 500,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange. Fiji's sugar has special access to European Union markets but has been harmed by the EU's decision to cut sugar subsidies. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity but is not efficient. Fiji's tourism industry was damaged by the December 2006 coup, which saw it suspended from the Commonwealth, and is facing an uncertain recovery time. In 2007 tourist arrivals were down almost 6%, with substantial job losses in the service sector, and GDP dipped nearly 7%. The coup has created a difficult business climate. The EU has suspended all aid until the interim government takes steps toward new elections. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the government's inability to manage its budget. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have decreased significantly. Fiji's current account deficit reached 10% of GDP in 2011.
Five foreign commercial banks (ANZ, Westpac, Colonial, Bank South Pacific, and Bank of Baroda) and three credit companies are active in Fiji. Microfinance providers (for both credit and savings) include three microfinance institutions, four village banks and a cooperative program.The residual unmet demand for savings is evaluated at USD 40M (with 10% corresponding to households with very low incomes) and the unmet demand for credit at USD 39M (with 30% corresponding to households with very low incomes). 80% of the 944,720 inhabitants live on the two main islands, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.