Collective strength – Resilient economic recovery and stability
15 August, 2022, 6:00 pm
The impact of COVID-19 on economies in the Pacific region was highlighted during a public lecture at the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) in Port Vila, Vanuatu last week.
While speaking on the theme “Resetem Blue kontinent ekonomi: Building a resilient Blue Pacific”, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya said COVID-19 had exposed complexities and challenges that would continue to impede pathways for effective economic recovery and resilience of our economies to be able to cushion potential fiscal shocks.
Mr Koya said COVID-19 exacerbated existing challenges facing developing Pacific economies, already hindered by isolation and highly vulnerable to disaster and climate change risks and atop these challenges, investors and governments alike were often faced with high infrastructure and rebuilding costs.
With the theme “Towards a Resilient Economic Recovery and Stability” for the FEMM this year, Mr Koya said their aspiration was to foster resilient economic recovery strategies that were not only impactful but fully comprehend all the challenges that the region had faced to reset, reorient and pivot to a way forward that was inclusive, fit for purpose and perfectly designed to suit the Pacific context.
“If there be one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it is that ‘Business as Usual’ is not going to protect us from global and regional economic shocks — but we can rely on the power of collective strength and it is my firm belief that this solidarity and political will is what will ensure our Blue Pacific can achieve the regional reset required to advance our development aspirations.”
Mr Koya said we could drive economic acceleration in our key sectors to achieve pre-COVID growth levels and for countries that had to borrow heavily to cope and adapt to the impacts of COVID-19, they must re-evaluate funding approaches and shift away from blue and green debt financing to blue and green grants and budget support to sustain our growth.
“In this manner we kill two birds with one stone; we contain our debt levels, and we still pursue our blue and green agenda.”