Private sector organisations urged to include their issues in the new framework on regionalism

Islands Business:

Thursday, 26 June 2014

PORT VILA, Vanuatu --- The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat says the private sector has an important role to play in the new framework for Pacific Regionalism that is currently being developed.

The proposed framework on regionalism replaces the Pacific Plan.

Outlining the connection between the regional framework on regionalism and private sector involvement, PIF Secretariat’s director for Economic Governance, Shiu Raj said the Pacific Plan review undertaken in 2013 highlighted the important role of the private sector in addressing the region’s development needs.

“The private sector is the engine of growth for any economy. Only through a robust and resilient private sector can an economy truly flourish and create much needed development in the form of employment opportunities and improvements in services and infrastructure.

Raj said since the private sector creates 90 percent of jobs in developing countries, governments in the Pacific must consider them as an essential partner in the fight against poverty and a catalyst to achieving prosperity and improving the welfare and livelihoods of our people.

“It is therefore important that the business climate in the Pacific is conducive to private sector development, said Raj.

Raj urged private sector organisations to be engaged in the discussion on the new regional framework to ensure their issues form part of the priority issues that Forum Leaders will endorse at their meeting in Palau in August.

Much of the concerns of the private sector deal with access to finance, affordable and adequate access to infrastructure and utilities such as communication and electricity as well as consistent, reliable and affordable transport, freight and logistics.

“With increasing competition from more efficient and larger producers, as well as distance from major markets, and given our small population sizes, the private sector in the Pacific operates with a greater degree of ingenuity and resourcefulness to ensure it can survive. I acknowledge the Pacific islands private sector for their perseverance, said Raj.

In May this year, the European Commission prepared a Communication titled “A Stronger Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Inclusive and Sustainable Growth,” which is expected to be the key policy document that will drive the EU’s engagement with the private sector in developing countries.

“The Secretariat has been working to ensure that the Pacific’s interests are prioritised in the area of private sector development by the EU as the communication is finalised, said Raj.

This is also in line with the development of the regional framework on regionalism which among other things recognises the important role of the private sector.

“The Review of the Pacific Plan called for the process to be driven by Leaders, with top regional priorities subject to strong political oversight to help ensure that they are achieved. These are important aspects of Pacific regionalism in which the private sector has an important role. I encourage you to fully engage in this process as the Framework is being finalised and beyond," said Raj. 

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