Private sector representatives including, micro-small-medium enterprises, financing institutions and investment promotion authorities from the Pacific Region gathered in Nadi in December 2019 for the first African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Knowledge and Information Sharing Event.

The three-day event was organised by the ACP Group of States in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant Secretary General of the ACP Group explained that when engaging the private sector, there is a need to ensure country ownership, technology and knowledge transfer and decent work for local people. “Public and private sector should be partners: the role of Government is to be a facilitator, to create the enabling environment, while investment and creation of jobs should come from the private sector.”

Director Programme and Initiatives at PIFS, Zarak Khan, said that “the long-term viability of the Blue Pacific Continent calls for innovation, connectedness, and an ability to sustainably exploit our traditional areas of economic strength while looking to identify new growth sectors, particularly in light of the climate change emergency that confronts us. In these endeavours, the Private Sector remains a vital partner.”

The event was intended to provide comprehensive information on relevant intra-ACP programmes, European Investment Bank (EIB)- managed and other European Commission-related Private Sector Development facilities and programmes targeting the ACP regions to over eighty participants.

It also aimed to promote peer-to-peer learning and experience-sharing in the area of private sector development and ensure a high degree of interaction among ACP private sector participants through business to business (B2B) networking in the areas of finance, trade, innovation and technology transfer.

The Event hosted a Talanoa (a process consisting of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue) on the Blue Pacific continent and the future 2050 Strategy involving Executives from Banking institutions, Shipping, Telecommunications, Tourism and other industries to discuss innovative approaches that can be utilised to achieve the Forum Leaders vision of the Blue Pacific continent.

As envisioned by the Blue Pacific narrative, the Pacific Ocean connects us all, therefore our stewardship and accountability for the wellbeing of our ocean speaks directly to the very issues that affect the region’s economic viability, its sustainable development aspirations, health, culture and the Pacific way of life.

The Knowledge Sharing event will highlight the concept of the Blue Pacific by providing a space for private sector participants from Forum Island Countries to learn from the experience of other ACP regions and build their capacity to positively shape the future economic development of the region.