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Regional financing a focus for Pacific ministers

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Regional financing a focus for Pacific ministers

A key matter before the Pacific Islands Forum economic ministers who are meeting in Suva is how to set up a regional finance facility. The ministers have had the idea of such a facility before them for several years as they look to ways to pay for development in the region. Don Wiseman spoke with the Forum's trade commissioner to China, David Morris, who's at the meeting and began by asking if the ministers have in mind an agency like a Pacific version of the Asian Development Bank. Well yes there is a discussion that is happening about looking at the financing capabilities of the region and of course there are significant financial resources that we have in the Pacific Islands region. And so there are a range of discussions going on about how we could utilise those financial resources to support economic development. DON WISEMAN: But critically the idea being to bring it all together so that you effectively create some sort of a bank. DM: Well look I think that is probably a little premature to talk about an institution I think it is rather the discussion is about looking at all of the resources that exist including pension funds and other resources and thinking about how they can be utilised to drive economic investments and projects in the region and so it is more of a discussion about broader strategy rather than a particular institution. DW: Is this the critical issue for the Forum Economic Ministers? DM: I think it is one of the critical issues. Another issue that we have been discussing is the need for a, to think about engaging with China and with the other key economies of the Asian region and how we as a region should be approaching. The rise of the Asian Economies there, increasing performance in the global economy and there increasing capacity to help us to develop the Pacific region. DW: Yes and a corollary of that of course is what is happening in the United States and the sense that there is going to be something of a pull back as far as this region goes? DM: Well yes there is a change happening in the world at the moment and of course that change is seeing the increasing importance of China in particular as the country that is leading global growth.

Source: RadioNz