Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Theme of the 29th South Pacific Forum

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): June 30, 1998 - This year South Pacific Forum will be held in Pohnpei, FSM with the theme "From Reform to Growth: The Private Sector and Investment as the Keys to Prosperity."

According to a letter from President Jacob Nena to all Members and Participants of the South Pacific Forum, he stated, "The pace and urgency of reform varies between members." Using FSM as an example, being in the process of major public-sector reform program at both the national and state level, he said "We have now experienced the challenges and rewards of committing ourselves openly and transparently to this process."

The President in his letter also said that without private sector growth [we] will continue to see [our] most talented and capable young people abandon the region for rewarding jobs elsewhere.

In focusing discussion among the leaders, the President have commissioned four discussion papers (sub topics) having direct relevance and practical application to the members' joint efforts.

"Reform and the Private Sector: The Experience to Date." This paper will attempt to instill a sense of how well the private sector is doing in the region and how effectively formal reform programs have focused on practical assistance to this sector. The Asian Development Bank will coordinate this paper in liaison with the Forum Secretariat, to ensure that the experiences of the Consultative Group processes and the outcomes of the Forum Economic Minister's Meeting are fully recognized.

"Banks as the Engine of Growth in the Private Sector." As a vital area for consideration, we need to know what the banking sector sees as the priorities for encouraging growth and what impediments they currently encounter. What is the role for commercial banks vis-a-vis development banks? Representatives from the banking sector will prepare this paper.

"Tourism and Fisheries: Key Sectors for Private Investment and Growth." Many of us desperately need investment in these two key sectors but find that we are unable to attract interest or that our state economic liberalization is still too restrictive. The South Pacific Project Facility and Foreign Investment Advisory Service, in liaison with the FFA, will prepare this paper which could focus also on practical measures drawing from lessons at the Maui Fisheries Conference.

"Education: Down to Business." This paper should focus at our schools, technical institutions and universities to ensure that [our] younger generation are equipped with the incentive and business skills necessary to drive the private sector forward into the next century. UNDP was recommended to prepare this paper.

The Forum meetings are scheduled for the 21st to the 28th of August here in Pohnpei.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356