Narrowing knowledge gap

Participants of the inaugural South Pacific Central Banking Research Conference at the Holiday Inn Suva. Picture: GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY

RESERVE Bank of Fiji governor Ariff Ali has urged regional central banks to continue partnering with relevant stakeholder institutions to up-skill its researchers, build capacity and narrow the knowledge gap.

Speaking at the inaugural South Pacific Central Banking Research Conference in Suva, Mr Ali said the importance of evidence-based policy meetings and deliberations cannot be emphasised enough.

“Central bank continuity provides institutional memory. A central bank accumulates knowledge both from research and experience,” he said.

“Governments change, but central banks stay. We are one of the most important reservoirs of knowledge that rightfully places us as the center of research in our small economies.

“While we acknowledge that we do not have access to quality, timely and reliable data in most instances, it should not stop us from using simple-excel based analysis and developing policy solutions based on our own unique experiences and institutional knowledge.”

Mr Ali said the conference was a great example of collaboration at the regional level on an issue that was core to our central banking role.

“Being the first of its kind in the region, it is my hope that the two-day Conference will stimulate vigorous debate and allow the sharing of diverse opinions to address some of the financial and economic challenges facing our Pacific Islands,” he said.

The two day conference, which began yesterday, is being co-hosted by Griffith University (Australia), the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG), Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV).

The conference is the outcome of some years of research collaboration between Griffith University and South Pacific central banks through funding by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

Around 100 central bank researchers, academics, business leaders and policymakers are attending the event to share current research on various economic and financial issues affecting the region. It is an opportunity to explore vital links between research and policy issues related to central banking and the private sector.

A number of international agencies and central banks from outside the South Pacific region are also participating in the conference as speakers, moderators and panellists. These include the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Reserve Bank of Australia and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Around 25 research papers, mostly co-authored by Griffith University and the hosting central banks under the Griffith-South Pacific Central Banks (SPCBs) partnership will be presented during the conference covering themes such as the macro-economy, financial sector, private sector development and wealth creation.

Since 2014, one joint-paper from this collaboration has been published in an international journal called the ‘Review of Pacific Basin Financial Markets and Policies’ and another has been accepted for publication in the “Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy”.

The research papers presented at the conference while providing policy implications are expected to stimulate vigorous debate and the sharing of experiences and perspectives on some of the financial and economic challenges facing our small Pacific Island countries.






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