Call for investors to channel finance into the country

Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone is 70 per cent larger than its land mass and has the potential for a vibrant and blue economy. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone is 70 per cent larger than its land mass and has the potential for a vibrant and blue economy.

Acting Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Faiyaz Koya said when it came to size of EEZ, Fiji had the 26th most expansive patch of planet under its protection during the climate and development ministerial access to finance and responding to climate impact on Wednesday, March 31.

“We call upon development partners and investors to channel finance into Fiji and let us help you ‘blue’ your portfolio,” he said.

“We also call upon you to help us structure new financial products such as blue bonds and debt for nature swaps that are tailor-made to SIDS blue financing ambitions.

“This must be paired up with support to help de-risk innovative blue financing which could be in the form of guarantees and first-loss risk sharing opportunities.”

Mr Koya said the country acknowledged the global north for facilitating the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) until June 2021.

“Even though it is little more than a band-aid solution for mortal wounds whose adverse effect will be felt for years to come if more long-term solutions are not adopted.

“It is rather concerning that such debt support facilities are only showing up due to fiscal crunch of COVID-19 whereas developing countries like Fiji have been suffering similar fiscal crises on an annual basis due to climate change.

“There should be urgent work done on developing debt forgiveness relief packages that are tied to climate induced fiscal shocks.

“These are just a few of many issues and solutions that we need to openly discuss and rapidly operationalise if we are to meet our long-term development goals.

“There is much to do and no time to waste.”

He urged the Secretariat to note the need to have meaningful follow-ups after this Roundtable and suggested the need to have a high-level Working Group or a Taskforce which would help operationalise the recommendations emanating from their discussions.

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