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Ali: Need for out of box solutions for the Pacific

Filipe Naigulevu
Thursday, February 08, 2018

OUT of box solutions are needed for the Pacific to challenge old paradigms of aid for trade and be able to leap forward in terms of trade integration, growth and development.

And adoption of tools such as digital commerce, connectivity and well-targeted policy interventions can make a significant difference to the cost and quality of trade including inclusive growth.

This were the basis of discussions at the two-day Aid for Trade in Asia and the Pacific conference held at the University of the South Pacific (USP) Laucala campus in Suva.

At the opening of the two-day workshop yesterday, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Shaheen Ali said aid for trade (AfT) should complement national development efforts.

This, he said, would enable countries to be more competitive, diversify their economies, lessen their vulnerabilities and boost their productivity and capacity.

"In order to make AfT effective, we believe, the development partners need to work with national authorities, to ensure that resources and efforts are in line with the national policies, development plans and vision of a country," Mr Ali said. "The vision of 'Transforming Fiji' has been carried forward in our five-year and 20-year National Development Plan.

"These strategies are aligned to our global commitments, which include, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

"The success of AfT initiative also depends on the effective utilisation of funds at the country level. If the funding is not in line with the overall development vision, it can become counterproductive or less effective, in meeting its objectives."

Mr Ali also raised the need to integrate climate change resilience in aid for trade initiatives.

"Aid for Trade needs to take a long term approach on all initiatives and sustainability needs to be a key criterion in efforts to expand trade," he said.

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