Private Sector Reforms Encouraging Pacific Business, Investment – Report

News from Country Offices | 15 February 2016

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – A significant and increasing number of reforms supported by the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) are resulting in legislative and structural changes that encourage investment and entrepreneurship across the region, according to PSDI’s 8th Annual Progress Report released today.

“PSDI’s achievements and the expansion of support outlined in this report illustrate the effectiveness of this initiative, and its appropriateness for the Pacific,” said Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. “With continued commitment from Pacific governments and our partners, there is enormous potential to build on this work and develop private sectors geared to sustainable, inclusive growth.”

The report notes that PSDI-supported modern company registries established in Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga are encouraging business formalization; opportunities for public-private partnerships have been improved in five countries including Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Timor-Leste; and efforts to improve the efficiency of state-owned enterprises are ongoing in seven countries including Fiji and Vanuatu. 

An extended chapter also details how PSDI’s ‘financing growth’ activities have helped improve funding for Pacific businesses, including through the creation of secured transactions frameworks which facilitate lending using moveable property as security in Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands and three other countries.

PSDI works with ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and support private sector-led economic growth. PSDI provides technical assistance and support services in policy and program development, advocacy, legislative and administrative reform, and capacity building.

Requests for PSDI assistance continued to grow during the reporting period. The initiative’s competition program expanded into five new countries, and in Fiji all five of PSDI’s core work areas began targeted support activities. Meanwhile, four pilot projects were initiated in PNG, Solomon Islands and Tonga under PSDI’s economic empowerment of women program.

The report states that strong analytical work underpins the support offered by PSDI, with the initiative publishing private sector assessments (PSAs) for PNG and Timor-Leste and an evaluation of secured transactions reforms in 2014-2015. PSAs for five more countries are being prepared, as are analysis papers on digital financial services and credit guarantees, and the next edition of the Finding Balance state-owned enterprise benchmarking study.

PSDI is cofinanced by ADB and the governments of Australia and New Zealand. It allocated $6.2 million for its program over the 2014-2015 period, a 29% increase over 2013-2014.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.