PACIFIC Island countries with the exception of Papua New Guinea have faced numerous economic challenges in the past 20 years, says Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation CEO Mereia Volavola.
Speaking in Nadi yesterday, Ms Volavola said over the past 20 years, PNG had registered very high economic growth although other regional countries had not fared so well.
"The most immediate and widespread are high unemployment and joblessness which is leading to poverty, frustration and social instability," she said.
"A number of countries suffer from political instability or serious breakdown in law and order.
"The region also faces serious and worsening health problems, environmental challenges such as climate change and rapid urbanisation."
Ms Volavola said many reports had revealed that if Pacific Islands were to resolve these problems, it would be good for their economies.
"Economic growth creates wealth, which are driven largely by the private sector and supported by the public sector.
"With growth in business and employment, this will be the only revenue that the public sector will receive in order to meet other challenges such as environment and public health.
"Economic growth will not resolve all the problems facing the island economies, however, it is necessary."