Fiji's Investment Prospect for 2024 and Beyond
Fiji's Investment Prospect for 2024 and Beyond
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) states the Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in 2023, at an estimated $1.37 trillion, showed a marginal increase (+3%) over 2022, defying expectations as recession fears early in the year receded and financial markets performed well. However, economic uncertainty and higher interest rates did affect global investment.
According to the UNCTAD’s Investment Trends Monitor, January edition, looking ahead, a modest increase in FDI flows in 2024 appears possible, as projections for inflation and borrowing costs in major markets indicate a stabilization of financing conditions for international investment deals. However, significant risks persist, including geopolitical risks, high debt levels accumulated in many countries, and concerns about further global economic fracturing.
Economic activity domestically has been healthy despite persistent headwinds, underpinned mainly by the thriving tourism sector, strong remittances and resilient domestic demand. According to the Reserve Bank of Fiji’s December Economic Review these drivers offset the drag from slower economic growth in major trading partner economies, elevated price pressures and softer performance in the primary and natural resource sectors.
Partial indicators for investment activity have shown signs of recovery but at a gradual pace. Commercial banks’ new lending for investment purposes rose annually by 29.6% cumulative to November, driven mainly by higher lending to the private individuals, building & construction, and real estate categories. The value of work put-in-place also picked up (7.8%) into the third quarter. Leading indicators for construction activity, such as the number of building permits issued, also improved by 17.1 % cumulative to the third quarter.
While there is significant improvement in the investment space, we are aware of the challenges that businesses may encounter when establishing operations in Fiji and labor shortages impacting multiple industries due to emigration.
At Investment Fiji, we recognize the importance of addressing these challenges and are actively collaborating with relevant Government agencies to mitigate risks and streamline processes as well as creating a conducive environment for businesses to flourish.
The formation of the Investment Facilitation Committee also serves as a platform for both new investors and established businesses to address recurring or unresolved issues that impede investment and business activities in Fiji. The goal is to implement regulatory reforms fostering investment growth and enhancing the overall business environment in Fiji.
Additionally, with the recent launch of the businessNOW portal that has been simplified as it is now designed to serve as Fiji's comprehensive platform for entrepreneurs and investors. The system which is currently being updated has made starting a business easier for investors to launch and track their applications with various Government agencies.
Therefore, our commitment to facilitating a seamless and investor-friendly business environment remains firm. We are dedicated to providing the support and resources needed to navigate any hurdles that may arise.
Last year, Investment Fiji received approximately 1100foreign investment enquiries from investors to set up businesses in Fiji. This is after the successful efforts of Investment Fiji in promoting the business potential of the country which was done through various means, including marketing initiatives, advocacy, awareness campaigns, and organizing events such as the trade and investment summit in New Zealand and the inaugural Fiji Tourism Investment Summit.
Investment Fiji's presence at global events such as the World Investment Forum in the United Arab Emirates, Pacific Fair in New Caledonia, and the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific in Singapore further showcased Fiji's investment potential and translated into major leads, promising fruitful collaborations in the years to come.
The top sectors that garnered significant attention from foreign investors include Services, Tourism, Energy, Real Estate & Construction, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).
Investment Fiji's outreach extends globally to countries such as New Zealand, Australia, United States, India, Japan, China, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Korea, and Canada. Investors from 44 different countries expressed interest in doing business in Fiji. This broad spectrum of interest demonstrates Fiji's ability to attract capital from a wide range of nations, diversifying the sources of foreign investments.
Currently, Investment Fiji is actively managing 127 leads in diverse sectors with a value of close to $3 billion which signifies the substantial potential for future economic growth and development in Fiji. These strong investment leads will lay the foundation for ongoing economic growth and expansion of a diverse pipeline of projects for the future.
According to the records maintained by Investment Fiji, there are currently 27 projects with a total value of $1 billion in the construction phase that are expected to commence trading over the next few years. An additional 20projects with a combined value of $1.6 billion is anticipated to start construction in the next few years. These projections are subject to the successful progression of all planned projects and timely approval obtained to move the projects.
Global Giants Choose Fiji
Fiji has recently attracted global brands, like Google, Alibaba and Starlink choosing to set up operations.
Google's substantial investment in Fiji, as part of the broader South Pacific Connect Initiative, promises to revolutionize digital connectivity across the region. The initiative aims to establish a robust and reliable network, offering vital backup, expanded capacity, and minimizing delays for users in Fiji. This transformative step underscores Fiji's growing significance in the global digital landscape.
Alibaba Group, had taken the initiative to support small, medium and large enterprises in Fiji to find diversification and new markets through their Alibaba.com global business-to-business (B2B) marketplace and the advantages of the company’s tailored ‘Gold Supplier’ program
Starlink (Fiji) Pte Limited, a leading provider of low Earth orbiting satellite systems, entry into the Fiji market will elevate Fiji's connectivity, offering innovative solutions and contributing to the country's technological advancement.
Transformative Impact of Tourism Investments in Fiji
In a noteworthy surge of growth in tourism investment, the Vualiku Hotel in Nadi is operational after elevating its facility, featuring 40 rooms, two restaurants, and ample parking spaces. Also, the Yue Lai Hotel in Suva has recently expanded its facilities with the addition of 76 new rooms. Meanwhile, Ratsun Hotel has also constructed 11 new rooms, demonstrating the company's commitment to enhancing its accommodations.
Other projects under construction or renovation includes, The West Inn Resort which is in the midst of an extensive refurbishment, upgrading 255 guestrooms, restaurants, and public spaces to enhance the overall quality of hospitality services. Simultaneously, the eagerly anticipated multimillion-dollar refurbishment and extension project at the Crowne Plaza is scheduled to launch in 2024.
Also, Suva is set to witness a transformation along its prominent foreshore with the ongoing construction of the Hilton Garden Inn property. The 179-room property is a testament to the growing interest and confidence that investors place in the potential of Fiji's tourism sector.
Noteworthy, too, is the ongoing redevelopment of the 5-star Wananavu Beach Resort, which will diversify into high-quality accommodations.
Numerous other projects underway are The Paramount Hotel in Nadi, Namena Island Resort renovation, development in Namuka Bay, luxury property in Yasawa, Palm Beach development, Radisson Mirage in Naisoso, and Ding Jing Real Estate Development's construction of 90 rooms at Wyndham Garden in Nadi.
Bati Investment Group has invested in the tourism and hospitality sector through the construction of The Remote Resort in Taveuni which is in its initial stages and will feature 23 rooms. At the same time, Belovula Resort is also under construction on Bekana Island.
Additionally, a notable project by Silent Resorts in Qamea involves the development of a solar-powered, zero-carbon resort with various modern concepts of accommodation villas. This innovative initiative aligns with sustainability goals and showcases Fiji as a destination committed to eco-friendly tourism.
Among the recent announced projects is the extension of the Sofitel Hotel & Spa in Nadi, that will add 190 luxurious rooms to the hospitality offering. These new additions will not only contribute to the economic development of Fiji but also enhance our reputation as a premier tourist destination, providing world-class accommodations and experiences.
Cathay Hotel is also adding 80 rooms to Fiji’s inventory which is set to assist and accommodate the increasing influx of visitor arrivals.
Another upcoming venture is by the Dong Cheng Company Investments Pte Limited, in collaboration with its sister company Nalagi Hotels which is set to embark on aground-breaking project that will bring forth 225 residential apartments in Suva.
These tourism projects signify confidence from investors, demonstrating their belief in the potential and long-term sustainability of Fiji's tourism industry. These developments will also create numerous employment opportunities, stimulate local businesses, and further strengthen the bonds between Fiji and the global tourism community.
The projects currently in progress or on the verge of commencing construction will contribute to adding more rooms to the existing inventory. The anticipated completion for these projects is expected to fall within the timeframe of 2024 to 2026.
Investment Fiji and Tourism Fiji are strategically working along with prominent global brands in the tourism sector such as, Hyatt, Oberoi Hotels, Dusit Thani Group, Dorsett from Hong Kong, Pan Pacific from Singapore, So, Aman Resorts from the Middle East, La Falle Des Couleurs from Mauritius, and One & Only Resorts. Such internationally renowned brands will showcase Fiji as an exceptional tourism destination.
Investment in the Northern Division
Vanua Levu has emerged as a key player in fostering economic development, with a series of notable projects that showcase the region's immense potential. One standout venture is the ongoing development of the multi-million-dollar Nawi Island Marina project in Savusavu, a testament to the growing confidence in the Northern division as an investment destination.
The private sector, recognizing the untapped opportunities, has been instrumental in driving positive change. Damodar Group is contributing significantly to the economic landscape with a substantial multi-million-dollar project. This project includes the development of commercial complexes, cinemas and hotel rooms, adding not just infrastructure but also enhancing the region's capacity to cater to diverse economic activities. The Grand Eastern Hotel is also under refurbishment which upon completion will have additional 25 rooms.
Another promising development is the construction of a shopping mall by Rups Investment, marking a strategic move that aligns with the evolving needs and aspirations of the Northern community. As the landscape transforms, this shopping mall is set to become a hub for commercial activities, creating a vibrant center for local businesses and the community at large.
R.C Manubhai is also playing a pivotal role in the development of Savusavu, undertaking the construction of a new building. This venture not only adds to the architectural beauty of the town but also provides a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, contributing to the overall economic prosperity of the region.
Other advancements in the northern division include the inauguration of a new Bred Bank branch in Labasa for better financial accessibility. In addition, the Extra Supermarket injected a substantial $7 million investment into its new outlet which has provided an enhanced shopping experience for the people of Labasa. Clothing retailer Meenoos has also expanded its business to the north. Also, recently announced was the development of a large shopping complex in Dreketi, a landmark project by the Mataqali Serau for the wider community.
Furthermore, the World Bank's substantial investment of US$200million in funding for the Vanua Levu Tourism Development project will unlock the vast and untapped potential of Vanua Levu, specifically enhancing its capacity to significantly contribute to and harness the economic opportunities within the tourism sector.
The Changing Real-estate and Retail Sector Dynamics
The real-estate and the retail sectors are undergoing significant transformations with key investments from various companies. These developments not only contribute to the expansion and modernization of retail infrastructure but also enhance the overall shopping experience and economic growth.
With a commitment to elevate the commercial infrastructure, the development of office spaces, restaurants, and shopping malls such as the Nausori Plaza project by Ding Jing Real Estate Development Pte Limited is set to enhance consumer experience. The project is nearing completion and expected to be officially opened soon.
Charan Katonivere Holdings Ltd is also developing a multi-million-dollar shopping mall in Nakasi. This venture aligns with our commitment to assisting investors in creating vibrant commercial hubs that cater to the diverse needs of our communities. This will not only enhance the retail landscape but also stimulates economic activity, fostering a flourishing environment.
Additionally, Vuvale Restaurants t/a McDonald's Fiji, a globally recognized brand, is making significant contributions to our local economy with a multi-million dollar project. The construction of a new McDonald's restaurant in Nakasi and the establishment of a distribution center in Lautoka will create a lasting impact. Furthermore, the company is diversifying by developing the Vuvale Plaza, which will encompass a shopping mall, office spaces, and additional restaurants, signaling a comprehensive commitment to both economic growth and community engagement.
Suva’s iconic WG Friendship Plaza by the WG International Real Estate Co. (Fiji) Limited is also currently undergoing construction. Additionally, Carpenters Tower office block is also taking shape in the heart of the city.
Western Home Limited is also set to transform urban living in Suva with a remarkable venture, a six-storey development featuring high-end apartments. Simultaneously, Sun Insurance is broadening its portfolio with the development of a 5-storey building in Nadi. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, contributing to the modernization of retail infrastructure in Nadi.
Additional developments include the acquisition of land by BSP Life for the construction of a shopping mall in Nadi, currently undergoing the design and conceptualization stages. The FHL Tower, an innovative 18-story "green building," is also in progress. In Nausori, the Shop & Save shopping mall, coupled with a hotel, is expected for completion in 2025.
Furthermore, construction is set to commence this year on the $25 million Amras Shopping Mall in Lakena. This comprehensive facility, equipped with ATMs, office spaces, a diverse range of retail outlets, pharmacies, hair salons, and medical clinics, is designed to offer a convenient and multifaceted experience for its patrons.
The outsourcing sector in Fiji has experienced significant growth with the expansion initiatives by Pacific Centrecom Pte Ltd. The company has recently opened three new offices in Lautoka, Nadi, and Navua. This expansion not only contributes to the employment sector but also positions Fiji as an emerging hub for outsourcing services. The company is set to further expand its presence with offices in Suva, Rakiraki, Ba, and Savusavu.
Vuvale Outsourcing Pte Ltd and Pepper Advantage is also making strides in the outsourcing sector by establishing new seats for the industry.
Pepper Advantage more specifically has made a substantial impact on the outsourcing landscape with its large-scale employment generation, a significant positive outcome of the investment, contributing to the economic development of Fiji.
We are working closely with Outsource Fiji to attract more investment in the outsourcing space. Through expansion and addition of new BPO’s, Fiji is currently expecting approx. 3000 seats in the next 2 years and by 2030 we estimate the workforce to be approximately around 25000.
As Investment Fiji gears up for a series of international events and business missions in 2024, these strategic initiatives are designed to showcase Fiji's investment potential, foster global partnerships, and attract foreign investments.
There are also a number of planned market activities which are anticipated to strengthen economic ties between Fiji. The North America Business Mission in May is a pivotal opportunity to expand Fiji's reach in the North American market. Through targeted business-to-business meetings and participation in trade shows, Investment Fiji aims to create synergies between Fiji enterprises and potential investors, fostering trade and investment opportunities. The event will facilitate networking with international investors, creating opportunities for collaborations and diversification of investment sources.
In2024 we are also anticipating a number of investment projects in the agriculture sector as we are working with a number of serious leads that is going to start development soon.
Through these engagements, Investment Fiji aims to broaden Fiji's economic footprint globally, attracting foreign investments, and positioning the nation as an attractive destination for trade and investment. The anticipated outcomes include increased foreign investment enquiries, active leads, and a prosperous economic future for Fiji.
Chief Executive Officer | Investment Fiji