Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi yesterday launched a World Bank report, laying out a series of options to accelerate economic growth in the Pacific region.
The report hopes to create more than 500,000 new jobs and increase incomes by more than 40 percent for people in most Pacific Island countries by 2040.
Tuilaepa, as the Chairman of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum, launched the report yesterday with World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa.
“Pacific Possible is not just another report, but an analytical piece of work that governments, like ours, will use as a platform for policy discussions and reforms to deliver real outcomes for our people,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa.
“We are working hard to take the tourism sector in Samoa to the next level — the analysis in Pacific Possible is something we can draw on in our discussions to help make this possibility a reality.”
Pacific Possible has been nearly three years in the making and is the culmination of extensive consultations with Pacific Island and Pacific Rim governments, non-governmental organisations, academics and individuals across the region.
The final, complete report identifies four significant transformative opportunities for increased prosperity for Pacific countries, together with a set of recommendations for minimising the economic impact of the biggest challenges facing the Pacific Islands over the next 25 years.
The key areas of opportunity identified by Pacific Possible include new source markets in tourism; greater labour mobility between Pacific countries, Australia and New Zealand; improved information communications and technology affordability and access; and higher incomes from more sustainable use of fisheries.
Climate change and natural disasters, as well as non-communicable diseases are highlighted as the two greatest threats, while deep-sea mining is discussed as a nascent sector, requiring significantly more research and a precautionary approach.
“Tourism, ICT, labour mobility and sustainable fisheries are the key sectors analysed in Pacific Possible that represent the greatest opportunities for governments to turn possibility in to reality,” said Ms. Kwakwa
“By focusing policy reforms and investments in these key areas they can deliver the greatest benefit for the most people.”
WHAT IS PACIFIC POSSIBLE?
Pacific Possible is a World Bank programme of research and dialogue which looks at genuinely transformative opportunities that exist for Pacific Island countries over the next 25 years, and identifies the region’s biggest challenges that require urgent action.
These include tourism, labour mobility, ICT, tuna fisheries, deep sea minerals, climate change, and non-communicable diseases.
The findings presented in Pacific Possible provide governments and policy-makers with specific insights in to what each area could mean for the economy, for employment, and for government income and spending.
Making the most of these opportunities will require narrowly focused policy reforms and investments, strengthening of human resources, sound environmental management, and collaboration, not only between Pacific Island Governments, but also with neighbouring countries on the Pacific Rim.