Aug 22, 2019 Last Updated 8:37 PM, Aug 21, 2019

The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF), Fiji’s sole national pension fund may have been churning out multi-million-dollar profits over the years but running its nation-wide operation has also been a costly business.  in what is believed to be its highest bill ever, the fund revealed its total expenses topped over F$50million (US$23million) in 2018 alone, the bulk of which was spent on ‘general administration expenses’.  This was a marked increase from the F$39.47 million it incurred in total expenses in 2017, according to its 2018 annual report.

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Next generation skills

  • Aug 22, 2019
  • Published in July

Will workers of the future be ready?

Space tourism guide, criminal redirection officer, commercial drone pilot, 3-D printing technician, augmented reality developer and personal privacy advisor; these are just some of the roles of the future says Dr Claire Nelson from The Futures Forum.

A Jamaican futurist, Dr Nelson led a session on ‘Pacific 4.0: Next generation skills for the Blue Pacific’ at the Pacific Skills Summit in Suva recently which aimed  to promote investment in skills development to “realise the Pacific’s sustainable development efforts.” she talked through a list of skills our children and their children will need for job markets of the future, including the ability to collaborate virtually,  filter information by importance, translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and understand data-based reasoning; plus digital literacy, a design mindset, social intelligence and adaptive thinking.

But how well equipped are the Pacific’s young people and our education systems to meet those needs?

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Lessons from indigenous businesses

  • Aug 22, 2019
  • Published in July

The Rotuman expression, “the land has eyes and teeth” is the starting point for a project looking at how communities across the Pacific have established models of economic engagement that challenge negative perceptions around  customary land.

Academics from New Zealand’s Massey University and the University of the South Pacific presented preliminary findings of their research project at the Pacific Update conference in Fiji recently.

Regina Scheyvens, Litea Meo-Sewabu and Suliasi Vunibola have looked at businesses in Samoa and Fiji. What they have found challenge the belief that limits to freehold title and ownership are a barrier to long term planning and  access to finance, and that such limits necessarily  create conflict.

The team found that the businesses, from tourism ventures such as  Taufua Beach Fales and, Faofao Beach Fales in Samoa, to Aviva and Nayarabale Youth Farms in Fiji, share several common characteristics.

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The Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) will set up a fund to help develop its pioneering sovereign digital currency. Work on RMI’s government-backed digital coin or SOV, which will use blockchain technology, is now into its second year. To be funded solely by SOV, the new not-for-profit SOV Development Fund “will be responsible for maintaining the SOV network in the long term, seed the ecosystem in the long term, promote the usage of the SOV both domestically and internationally and smooth the volatility of the SOV by selling and buying against the us dollar,” says David Paul, head of SOV project and RMI’s Minister-in-Assistance to the President.

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Relentlessly curious

  • Aug 22, 2019
  • Published in June
The secret to Singh’s success

“I’m going to share a lie, a secret and a wish with you.” That was the opening gambit of Priya Singh, who at 29 is the youngest General Manager (Data, Process & Advanced Analytics) at Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products. Singh is a daughter of Fiji who is making it big on the world stage – literally. She recently spoke to an audience of 3000 people at the World Congress of Accountants in Sydney, in what she describes now as a surreal experience. This month she spoke at more intimate, Fiji Institute of Accountants Women in Leadership events about her career.

The lie
Singh says the idea that there is a ‘male brain’ and a ‘female brain,’ or to put it in pop-culture terms, ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ is a lie. Having spent most of her academic and working life in male
dominated fields, Singh believes that everyone can access both their left and right brains, that is, their creative, artistic and their logical, detail-orientated, mathematical thinking, but that sometimes society pushes you to one rather than the other. “It’s in your control” she told the audience.

The secret
Singh says the secret to her success is her relentless curiosity. “I think I got a lot of it from my grandma,” she told Islands Business. “Just this boldness of ‘it doesn’t matter what other people think’ or what will happen to you, because if you don’t ask, it’s the same as everything being the way it is right now.” Singh says her relentless curiosity led her to set up her New Zealand charity, “Karma Collective,” which is a digital platform connecting Masters and PhD students and young professionals in Auckland, with entrepreneurs in the developing world who are trying to get their start-ups off the ground.

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