7 Jul 2006

Solomons foreign minister speaks plainly on Pacific's economic woes

1:36 pm on 7 July 2006

The 10th Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, or FEMM, in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara, wound up yesterday after some plain speaking from both Australia and Solomon Islands.

The Australian treasurer, Peter Costello, told the meeting many Pacific countries' economies are deteriorating as their governments fail to stamp out corruption.

The Solomon Star reports the Solomon Islands foreign affairs minister, Patteson Oti as telling the meeting that in the last 15 years, six Pacific countries, including his own, had zero or negative growth.

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Mr Oti told the meeting that over the last 15 years, low-income countries worldwide grew at an average rate of 2.6 per cent per annum.

But of FEMM island members, only Tuvalu achieved 2.6 per cent average growth.