SUVA, FIJI – More private sector investment is needed to sustain growth and create jobs in Fiji, Asian Development Bank’s Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Bambang Susantono, told officials attending a Pacific region conference here today.
Mr. Susantono is in Fiji for a 2-day visit where he is attending the Pacific Update Conference at the University of South Pacific and holding talks with government officials.
“Over the past 6 years Fiji has experienced one of its longest periods of sustained growth since 1970, propelled by accommodative fiscal and monetary policy, as well as wide-ranging structural reforms,” said Mr. Susantono. “To maintain this momentum, Fiji now needs to encourage more private investment and to provide opportunities for all sectors of society to benefit from growth.”
At the conference, attended by Fiji’s Attorney General and Finance Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Mr. Susantono discussed findings of a recent ADB country diagnostic study, Fiji – Building Inclusive Institutions for Sustained Growth, which identifies key constraints to inclusive growth and suggests policy options for addressing them.
The study notes that Fiji’s rapid economic growth can only be sustained with reforms that provide an enabling environment for private business to start and operate in, address gaps in infrastructure, remove barriers to access finance and tackle a lack of productive job opportunities. The government is already implementing policy actions to address many of these constraints, but as it pursues further reforms it should consult regularly with the private sector and stakeholders to ensure their support.
The Pacific Update Conference is an annual event that brings together policymakers, academics and researchers, the private sector, and development practitioners to discuss policy issues of pressing importance to countries in the Pacific region. The event is sponsored by ADB in collaboration with the ADB Institute, the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre, and the University of the South Pacific.
As part of his visit to Fiji, Mr. Susantono visited the ADB-financed Waila water treatment plant, which has been helping to improve water supply in the greater Suva area over the last two decades. Last year, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved a $31 million climate adaptation grant for the ADB-financed Fiji Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management Project that will benefit a third of the country’s population of 860,000. The GCF grant was among the first group of projects approved by the GCF Board at its meeting in Livingston, Zambia, in November last year.
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, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.