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Unlock Fiji’s Potential, Former NZ PM Urges

Noting the vast amount of unused land in Fiji, former New Zealand Prime Minister, Dame Jenny Shipley, has highlighted this is a very valuable resource waiting for its potential to
16 May 2015 09:17
Unlock Fiji’s Potential, Former NZ PM Urges
Participants at the 2015 FIA Congress at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort on Yanuca Island yesterday. Photo: RACHNA LAL

Noting the vast amount of unused land in Fiji, former New Zealand Prime Minister, Dame Jenny Shipley, has highlighted this is a very valuable resource waiting for its potential to be unlocked.

Dame Jenny was speaking yesterday in an interview with the Fiji Sun on the sidelines of the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress 2015 at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort on Yanuca Island.

Dame Jenny, from rural New Zealand, became New Zealand’s first woman Prime Minister. Since leaving politics she has become a successful businesswoman.

Land utilisation

She noted the Fijian Government is working on better utilisation of land, but stressed if potential is unlocked, the country can pretty much be self-sufficient in terms of agricultural products.

Not only this, she said the agricultural products can be value added and exported as well.

“You don’t have to be the volume producer but the niche producer of new products that can be designed to give good yield to Fiji,” she said.

Dame Jenny also stressed the importance of being price setters as opposed to price takers.

“Try and be price setters so you design ideas and design products and design services that are Fiji by design,” she said.

“So people come towards you wanting to be part of this rather than you pushing your services to them.”

Targets

Dame Jenny highlighted there are more middle class people in the world today.

She stressed these are the groups which Fiji can and should be targeting in terms of sale.

“Fiji has always done well selling things to US and other economies where there are strong middle classes that want your goods and services,” she said.

“China is the new middle class – so its a broader middle class and that in itself is a good thing.

“Chinese investment is a huge opportunity. I encourage business leaders to think about doing business with Chinese investors.

“In other words, the value proposition of being together rather than being apart.”

Whilst Fiji has tourism and a few world-recognised products, Dame Shipley stressed we should now be thinking about what next.

“It is a good time for Fiji should be thinking about what next – what should Fiji look like in 25 years and what will you do now that will make a difference,” she said.

Dame Jenny acknowledged smart technology connection noting its takeup was very high in Fiji with strong network.

“This is a very huge point of advantage for you to connect to markets and for markets to connect to you,” she said.

“So I encourage every FIjian to think about country to customer – who are your customers of tomorrow and what can you sell them that’s unique about Fiji. I think there are some great opportunities there.”

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 



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