Dr Sunil Kumar, Senior Lecturer updates on Fiji Economy.
It is the private sector initiatives and private citizens of the country that create economy, said Dr Sunil Kumar, Senior Lecturer at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Economics.
Dr Kumar shared this message during Day 2 of the 2017 Pacific Update Conference on 21 June at Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre, Laucala Campus.
He talked about the Fijian economy, highlighting its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth trends and prospects, an analysis of the economic sectors, some challenges for the economy and provided some policy remarks.
He also argued on the policy gaps, what the data reflects and how these sectors could be made better.
Talking about the Fijian economy’s growth, Dr Kumar said that it is subdued at the moment partly due to Cyclone Winston last year, particularly in the the agricultural sector.
“But there are other sectors that are growing and tourism is one of them. Other sectors which are also growing need some kind of policy approach to make them work better,” Dr Kumar said.
According to Dr Kumar, one of the major challenges faced by the Fijian economy is in the labour market where there are a number of productivity issues.
Dr Kumar is optimistic about the country’s economy. However, he stated that there are policy gaps that need to be addressed and if that is done well throughout, it requires a lot of interaction and discussions.
“We need experts to come together and discuss some of the policy matters to take much of our productive sectors forward,” he emphasised.
Dr Rup Singh, during his presentation at the Pacific Update 2017.
Another Senior Lecturer from the University, Dr Rup Singh presented on Urbanisation and Sustainable Development in Fiji and stressed that urbanisation is an area of research which has sought growing interest from geographers, socialists and economists, because, he added, it is something real and happening on a day to day basis around us.
There is a complete shift of thinking in terms of how we view urbanization, growth and development now compared to what we used to do in the past and this, he said, has excited mainstream economists.
Dr Singh explained that that traditional literature endorses problems of urbanisation including, crime, traffic congestion, contagious disease and escalating housing costs but now it is seen as a window of opportunity for growth.
“Urbanisation is very closely related to growth and development because of the impact of agglomeration, scale – effects of large population, knowledge spill-over, creative and smart cities,” Dr Singh said.
In Fiji, he highlighted, there is some scope for city expansion particularly in terms of ‘vertical expansion’.
The current concentration of urbanisation in Fiji is at a rate of 54 per cent (54%)
Some of the things that will drive development are: long-term infrastructure development and creation of extended/new and smart cities; political improvements in good governance; appropriate policies and sound implementation to incubate medium and small enterprises; creativity and innovation; and the need to harness this change.
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