Despite the COVID-19 outbreak taking full force in March of 2020 when Vanuatu and many investor source destinations close their borders, foreign investment interest in Vanuatu continued to be registered by the Agency.
According to the Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (VFIPA) the total number for New Investments registered for 2020 is 106, with the majority of the investments focusing on the Accommodation and Food Services Activities.
The Agency continues to provide the support in services to all foreign investments within Vanuatu and is encouraged to see the diversifying of activities that existing investors are now undertaking to ensure their business continuity.
Specific assistance to investors facing difficulties with their investment because of the COVID-19 pandemic has been undertaken by the Agency in special consideration of their applications.
VFIPA’s work thus far is dedicated to providing support and assistance where necessary for business opportunities to continue to thrive to support the bleak economic trends.
Investors have noticed this commitment to service with regular positive feedback on the “excellence in service and professionalism in dealing with clients”.
This year has seen the Agency’s commitment towards networking and dialogue for policy changes that can be beneficial to support national aspirations and private sector growth and development as well.
The Agency is now supporting key government initiatives through its activities and this includes engagement in high level discussions with the private sector and the government on addressing key policy issues.
VFIPA praises the Government’s current health measures that have proved to be effective and working for Vanuatu in terms of COVID preparedness.
The Agency has dedicated a page to COVID-19 updates in the official website (www.investvanuatu.vu) for regular and up to date information for investors to follow for their business interest in Vanuatu.
Further to this development VFIPA’s focus is shifting on what investment sectors or industries will be primary focus following the effects that the pandemic has had on investment in the country.
A set of investment incentives will be developed as the year progresses to prepare for when borders do open for investor inflow again.
The Government has outlined key priority sectors that it has allocated more resources to which are Health, Education and the Primary sector as the uncertainty around how the pandemic will further impact the country grows.
VFIPA is seeing the struggle in tourism industry with a number of key hotels closing temporarily and seen the chain reaction that this has had on other investments that depend on the tourism industry and other support sectors as well.
The interest to invest in Vanuatu regardless of the pandemic shows the possibilities of new investment opportunities in potential sectors that VFIPA will continue to analyze and present as possible sectors for economic contribution.
VFIPA will continue to pursue these activities as it accepts the new normal that now exists for investing in Vanuatu and doing business in the country as a whole.