Griffith South Pacific Central Banking Research Conference and Regional Policy Dialogue underway

The 2-day Griffith South Pacific Central Banking (Griffith-SPCB) Research Conference and Regional Policy Dialogue hosted by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV) at the Warwick Le Lagon Resort was officially opened yesterday.

Director for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Clinton Pobke remarked in his opening speech the reports from the Financial Stability Board that the Pacific was one of the regions most affected by the loss of correspondent banking relationships, with a decline of 43% in Melanesia and 36% in Polynesia.

“In my time here in Vanuatu,” said Mr. Pobke, “I was very impressed with the progress of Vanuatu Government in amending of drafting over 30 separate pieces of legislation in body of work that led to Vanuatu being removed from the Financial Action Task Force grey list.”

RBV Governor, Simeon Athy conveyed in his keynote address that the collective goal is to raise the standard, culture and environment of research at our central banks to the level of the likes of our closest and more advanced central banks.

“The crux of the developing capacity program is to build a strong research culture and environment within the central banks which will eventually become a key basis for policy-making in the region,” said Governor Athy.

“I am sure our stakeholders would be equally eager to strengthen these partnerships which will lead to among others, integration with the rest of the world and help find research-based solutions to the region’s real socio-economic problems.

“I wish to conclude this address by calling on our respective high level decision makers to avoid as much as possible ‘eye-balling’ in our decision making, especially where decisions involve the commitment of public funds and turn to study-based findings to help make informed decisions.”

The Governor has also announced a MoU signing with Griffith University for a PhD program.

“The PhD scholarship will be co-funded by the participating central banks and Griffith.”

The MoU allows up to four (4) intakes per year.

Governor Athy said in the next 10 years, “we are hoping to see a few more PhDs at all the central banks, leading our dream of independent research to policy endeavours and local capital development at the central banks and in the rest of the country”.

The Griffith-SPCB annual regional conference is an initiative of the South Pacific and Griffith University which brings together South Pacific central bank researchers to explore vital links between research and policy relating to central banking issues, including financial and private sectors and economic growth and development.

The purpose of the high-level annual regional policy dialogue is to create an atmosphere that promotes spirited interaction among participants and helps policy makers fine-tune their own approaches as they apply the lessons and details of SPCB-supported economic policy research on the region.

Besides this specific immediate outcome, the dialogue is designed to improve the prospects for cooperative policy research between policy makers and researchers.

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