New Year’s Day 2014 will be remembered as the day that Samoa left the group of countries considered the least developed in the world. For many years, Samoa had managed to stay as an LDC for many years. The fragility of the country’s economy as a result of climate change has kept Samoa in the circle of the poorest countries continuously. The problem with Samoa as it continues to argue, is when a natural disaster hits, Samoa’s economy is taken many years back. After the 2009 tsunami and Cyclone Evans two years ago, Samoa finally managed to move away.
Many in the country are uneasy despite reassurance by the government leader, Prime Minister Tuila’epa Lupesoli’ai Sa’ilele Malielegaoi that Samoa will be fine. “It’s about time that we get out of this status,” says Tuila’epa. He went on to say that for years Samoa’s economy has been steady and given the many challenges it’s faced over the years of the global financial crisis on top of the disasters, the country continues to experience steady growth.
Samoa’s economy has always been considered one of the best examples of growth in the region but others are not convinced. Leader of Opposition Palusalue Fa’apo II says the situation on the ground is not reflecting the international view that Samoa is able to manage and run its own economy with little help once it becomes a developing nation.
“Yes, nobody’s hungry, there’s food, although the food could improve, but people need money to pay water, electricity and other expenses and the high cost of living isn’t helping,” he adds. “It’s taken 50 years for Samoa to graduate from primary school, it’s just finished Year 8 and this year it begins secondary school at year 9. We’re going to stay at this level for the next 50-100 years,” says Shadow Finance Minister, Afualo Dr Wood Salele.
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