Koya: Strengthen digital infrastructure

Minister for Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport Faiyaz Koya. Picture: MONIKA SINGH/FT FILE

There is a need to further strengthen the region’s digital infrastructure as the pandemic has accelerated shifts in consumer behaviour and the future of retail.

Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya, at the Forum Trade Ministers Meeting on Friday, July 16, 2021, said the world of e-commerce presented fresh opportunities.

“We are all acutely aware of COVID-19’s impact on enterprise digitalisation and e-commerce adoption,” he said.

This need includes incentivising investments in digital connectivity, computing capabilities, payments systems, and new and innovative business models.

“Businesses in the region must be able to better serve international markets as well.

“At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, many global supply chains for food and medicine were disrupted due to border closures and other export restrictions.

“Thus, a strong digital infrastructure must be complemented by robust supply chain capabilities to ensure timely fulfilment of orders.

“We have to ensure that our policies remain consistent and effective. It is critical that our strategies enable our businesses to continue to operate with minimal disruptions,” added Mr Koya.

He says this then becomes a key competitive advantage which allows them to continue to stay vigilant and proactively pursue new opportunities.

“This would also allow resumption of economic activities sustainably and start building the economies back as quickly as possible.”

During the meeting Mr Koya also highlighted trade had been at the centre of life for their economies and remained the lifeblood of the region today.

“However, there is a need to alter our trade landscape by raising productivity, boosting competitiveness and creating new opportunities for market access.

“In addition to this, there is also a need to create economic recovery plans that have the potential to create a recovery that is both green and inclusive.

“Addressing such global issues has become even more important in order to enhance resilience against future shocks.”

He added since trade and environmental issues were inextricably intertwined, Fiji and New Zealand, alongside Costa Rica, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, had embarked on an initiative on climate change, trade and sustainability.

This agreement was said to be a first of its kind.

Mr Koya said it aimed to use trade rules to tackle climate change and other environmental issues.

“We are encouraging all Pacific Island Countries to join this foresight initiative.”

More Stories