The latest edition of the Pacific Economic Monitor (PEM), launched at the 2015 Pacific Update held in Suva, Fiji, last week, highlights the impact of disasters on Pacific development.
The PEM warns that the impacts of severe weather events are impeding growth in the Federated States of Micronesia and Vanuatu, yet average growth in the region is still projected to accelerate to 9.9% this year, largely on the back of exports from the PNG LNG project. A more modest growth rate of 5% is projected for 2016.
The Monitor features an update on the impact of Cyclone Pam on the Vanuatu economy by Devpolicy’s Matthew Dornan and Tess Newton Cain, which argues that recovery of the tourism sector is vital and that significant resources will be needed to finance the reconstruction, particularly of infrastructure.
The PEM also looks more broadly at disaster in the Pacific, and suggests there is a need for investment in more resilient infrastructure and early warning systems, and also for improved availability of funding to create opportunities for ‘build-back-better’ recovery post-disaster.
On broader trends in the region, the Monitor notes that tourism is generally tracking well, with increases in arrivals from New Zealand and a pick-up in numbers from Australia.