Earlier this week, Australia unveiled the Pacific Economic Survey here in Port Vila. Present for the event was a delegation from all around the Pacific Region, including Melanesia and Polynesia as well as senior politicians from Australia. AUSAid’s chief economist was also there to present the findings.
The report is the first of a series of annual surveys that will provide an overview and update of economic developments in the Pacific island region and Timor-Leste. It collates and summarises public data on various aspects of the region’s national economies, performs some comparative and collective analysis with the results, then provides a few basic recommendations.
The theme for this year’s report was Connectivity. The survey focuses on aviation, shipping and telecommunications. It argues that liberalisation, more input from the private sector, and a cooperative regional approach to the problems inherent in improving connectivity are keys to improving Pacific economies.
The findings in the area of telecommunications do much to validate the Government of Vanuatu’s market liberalisation strategy and provide every encouragement to expand upon them. It addresses some potential pitfalls that might be encountered, primarily where access to technical expertise is concerned. And that is where it risks missing the boat.