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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 16) – An economics expert in the Pacific says its pointless that the Asian Development Bank keeps pouring more money into the region’s private sector without public sector reforms.

Dr. Mahendra Reddy, an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, made the comment after the Asian Development Bank announced it’s ploughing an extra US$7.5 million into private sector development in the Pacific over the next five years.

The joint initiative with the Australian government aims to create more jobs in the region.

Dr. Reddy says that while private sector development is important, the problem with Pacific Island economies begins with the public sector. "We have to be cautious about what to do first and to what extent. If you look at governance across the Pacific, particularly the Melanesian countries, instability is quite rife and governance at public sector level is quite unstable."

Dr. Reddy says the private sector cannot thrive unless basic infrastructure and financial systems are improved across the region.

May 17, 2006

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