Nov 23, 2017 Last Updated 9:11 AM, Nov 15, 2017

No viable private sector for 10 countries

Some Pacific Islands countries are so geographically challenged that they will always depend on aid and at least 10 will not have a viable private sector, facts that need to be accepted and understood before expectations are heaped on development in the Pacific region.

And donors who support these countries with aid money could try to be more sympathetic of that, said director general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Dr Jimmie Rodgers, as the organisation celebrates its 40th year of existence this year, servicing 22 countries in the Pacific and supported by four of its six founding members. SPC turned 40 on February 6 and it marks the year with an independent review of its role in regional development, considered a significant undertaking as the results are going to determine how best the organisation can respond to the priority of its members.

Its members in the Pacific are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna. While hundreds of millions in aid funds are pumped into their economies each year— mostly to finance development—these small countries are beset with challenges that often make it difficult for them to translate those funds into development.

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