22 Aug 2007

International credit rating agency reports Fiji brain drain after December coup

10:20 am on 22 August 2007

The international credit rating agency, Standard and Poor's, says it has observed a marked increase in the brain drain from Fiji after last December's military coup.

The Fiji Sun says the agency has made the observation after study of Fiji's security, political and economic situation.

Standard and Poor's credit analyst, Kyran Currie, says the latest coup is likely to further worsen Fiji's brain drain which has already seen large numbers of professional and skilled workers leaving the country.

Mr Currie says Fiji had largely relied on tourism, sugar and garments for economic growth but sugar and garments were already in serious decline before the December military takeover,

He says these declines coupled with the negative impact of the coup on tourist arrivals, has caused Fiji's economic growth rate to be revised to a contraction of over 3% in the current financial year.

He says the coup has deterred foreign direct investment and inhibited the inflow of vital tourist dollars.

Mr Currie says as long as the political situation remains uncertain, it will continue to drag down the local economy.

But the Standard and Poor's assessment notes that Fiji's strengths include mature economic institutions with monetary stability, and good education and health systems.