What are the key drivers of growth for these small pacific island nations? I would expect tourism and natural resources to be pretty central to these economies. Is there anything else? What are the key barriers to growth here? I would imagine tyranny of distance and small populations couldn't help.

I am interested in answers which related both to macro and microeconomics.

I would be happy with any references pointing me in the right direction as well.


As a group, there are similarities. They are all small and remote island economies. None have a population over 1 million people. Fiji is the largest with a population of roughly 900k. It is important to remember that they are still different countries and it can be unhelpful and misleading treating them all as identical.

The Pacific island region has considerable potential for development, especially in the areas of tourism, fisheries, forestry, mining, and agriculture.


  • Small size
  • limited natural resources (diversity and capacity to capitalise on)
  • narrowly based economies (small populations and isolation limit capacity to diversify production.)
  • large distances to major markets
  • vulnerability to exogenous shocks, can affect growth and have often led to a high degree of economic volatility.
  • They are some of the most vulnerable nations in the world to disaster. In particular, climate change and rising sea levels.

Long term viability of economies has been questioned. Fiji is the only one approaching independence from aid.. Many Pacific Island economies have found it difficult to achieve sustained economic growth and hence sustained growth in living standards

See this link for a brief overview by the world bank.

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