Opinion

Fiji’s economy a model for Samoa

By Savea Sano Malifa (The following is from an editorial in the Samoa Observer by the award-winning independent daily newspaper’s founder and editor-in-chief Savea Sano Malifa. Savea has previously been
05 Oct 2012 08:53

Part of the Samoan capital, Apia. Photo: pacificislandtravel.com.

By Savea Sano Malifa

(The following is from an editorial in the Samoa Observer by the award-winning independent daily newspaper’s founder and editor-in-chief Savea Sano Malifa.
Savea has previously been a strong critic of media legislation in Fiji.
He has also led the continuing fight to get longtime Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi’s government to remove draconian Samoan media laws.
Savea is one of most respected newspaper publishers/ journalists in the Pacific Islands.
His personal awards include being named a World Press Freedom Hero by the global International Press Institute).

Last week in a Samoa Observer editorial titled “Get rid of the ‘blight’ – this is the “taro blight” that has been blocking Samoa’s taro exports to Australia for some twenty odd three years now – we suggested that perhaps in our frantic search for foreign investors to help stimulate our lethargic economy, we should look to Fiji for inspiration.
We made that suggestion knowing that despite the serious setbacks in the global economy that have been accumulating financial woes, and then sending them around the world over recent years causing hardship everywhere, Fiji’s economy has continued to maintain its steady growth, so that today it is actually flourishing.
Why then can we not send a high profile team to Suva – as we’d done four weeks ago to Auckland in our quest to lure New Zealand investors over to help jolt to life our fatiguing economy – so that Frank Baniamarama and his band of savvy businessmen can tell us how to make our economy run instead of just waddling along like someone who has already given up on life?
But then we don’t know what else our government has in mind.

HONOUR FOR FIJI

What we know is that at the United Nations in New York recently, Fiji was elected to chair the Group of 77 – which includes China – for the duration of 2013.
G77, by the way, “is the largest intergovernmental organisation of developing countries in the United Nations” with a total of 132 members.
According to Radio New Zealand International, “Fiji’s election took place by acclamation at the G77 Ministerial Meeting in New York, following the nomination of Fiji by the Asia-Pacific Group of the United Nations.”
It was uncontested, which mean such a demonstration of solid support shows how influential Fiji’s government is in the United Nations – and yes – in the free world today.
The honour was received by Fiji’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, who also represented his government at the Ministerial Meeting, the reports say.
They also say this is “the first time in the forty eight year history of the G77 that a G77 Chair is from one of the Pacific Small Island Developing Countries.”
In other words, this is clearly a symbolic vote of unrivalled esteem for Frank Baniamarama’s government even though it has invariably been described as unorthodox, undemocratic and even dictatorial.

CONDESCENDING COMMENTS

In any case, in the editorial already commented on, the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English – who spoke before our investor-seeking team in Auckland where he also addressed the idea of encouraging New Zealand businesses to invest in Samoa – was casually blasé about it all.
“We see ourselves as depending on larger economies such as Australia and China,” he told his audience.
“Someone has put it to me that Australia is a province of China and New Zealand is a suburb of Australia.
“So I don’t know where that places Samoa.”
Precise, condescending, biting.
Last week we thought we had cleared up that little anomaly raised by Mr English, so here it is again.
In our view, economically speaking, Samoa is the son of Fiji. In other words, Samoa can learn a lot from Fiji, economically speaking that is




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