The Director General of Trade, Roy Mickey Joy says at the present time when the economic situation of the country is almost stagnant with more money going out and not enough coming in, it is crucial that the country create new investment opportunities to attract more investors in to set up businesses in its Economic Development Zone (EDZ) and encourage more people to join the workforce.
For this reason an important Economic Development Zone (EDZ) – a Public-Private Partnership Forum, was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Tourism, Trade, Commerce and ni Vanuatu Business, Jotham Napat, in the Northern Town yesterday.
It is understood that the initiator of the former Jubilee Farm near Fanafo, Graham Hack tried to sell his project to the Government in the past without success. Some ni-Vanuatu investors who bought into the initiative and gone into cattle and forestry developments are understood to be still successful today.
The DG explains that the main objective of the Conference is to present the progress of the EDZ initiative in Vanuatu, to benefit from the experiences and good practices from other EDZs active at regional and international levels.
In the Pacific, the DG specifically names Fiji as having a thriving EDZ which has created a swift economic turnaround after Rabuka’s military coup.
The writer of this article also visited it and was highly impressed by the international quality standard of clothing and footwear manufactured mostly by women, the majority of the 8,000 workforce.
The DG names Mauritius as another small developing country in Europe that is performing very well through its EDZ.
In Vanuatu’s case, he points out that this is not the first time for the initiative to be announced as previously EDZs were launched in Port Vila and Malekula and elsewhere.
However all did not materialize.
But both the DG and Director of Industries, Jimmy Rantes explain that this time, the event will mobilize the key public and private sectors from the country and international organisations specialised on EDZ development and implementation.
Director Rantes says the EDZ will open its first phase for a duration of five years then progress from there.
Following the welcome remarks presented from Vanuatu authorities, the conference will include four sessions:
• Session 1: Vanuatu EDZ initiative: where we are;
• Session 2: Trade and investment opportunities in Vanuatu;
• Session 3: Lessons learned from regional and international EDZ and
• Session 4: An efficient education system preparing the new generation.
The conclusion of the forum and way forward will be presented to the audience.