Democracy, Dictatorship, and Development - European Union Pacific Development Policy in Action: A study of Fijian society since December 2006.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In early December 2006, the Fijian military seized power in a coup led by the Armed Forces commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama. It was a coup long expected, and Fiji’s fourth since 1987. Internationally, the response was swift imposing sanctions and removing or delaying international aid programmes. This has a potentially significant impact on Fiji because it is one of the largest per capita recipients of developmental aid funding in the world. However, it may also have little impact because, despite such assistance, the Fijian GDP has stagnated with an average growth of under 1% for the last 20 years. Other developmental indicators are also bleak. This thesis thus examines the dichotomy between Fiji’s ODA and its apparent inability to arrest the decline of the Fijian lifestyle and economy. However, to review all international developmental programmes across all sectors of Fijian society, while maintaining contemporary relevance and coherency, is untenable. Therefore, the thesis will focus on the European Union and its external relations with Fiji. The EU is one of the most influential partners for Fiji and is often overlooked by scholars, allowing this thesis to make a valuable contribution to developmental studies in the pacific region. The thesis has selected and examines four sectors of Fijian society, that of the Economy, Governance, Sugar, and Education sectors. This is because they are the sectors that the European Union is presently devoting most attention. Therefore, these areas best illustrate Fijian reaction to the importance and effectiveness of EU involvement. Overall, the thesis intends to demonstrate both the efficacy and the attitudes of local representatives to foreign aid programmes, and ultimately provide a unique ‘inside looking out' perspective not typical of publications about Fiji.