Oct 22, 2019 Last Updated 2:59 AM, Oct 16, 2019
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Lifting the anchor

  • Oct 22, 2019
  • Published in August
Can more risk make state-owned banks more relevant?
A new Asian Development Bank report says Pacific state-owned banks need to change their attitude to risk if they are to fulfil their potential to improve competition and deepen the credit markets of Pacific island nations. The Finding Balance 2019 report profiles the roles, performance, market context, and regulatory framework of 13 state-owned banks in 10 Pacific island countries. It finds that as a group, these banks generated a very low financial return on their investment for their shareholders, and that the “underlying pressures on profitability need to be addressed if these banks are to play a longer term role.”
 

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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

  • Oct 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

  • Oct 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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