13 Apr 2010

ADB forecasts very modest growth for Pacific economies

9:52 pm on 13 April 2010

The Asian Development Bank is predicting very modest growth in most Pacific countries in 2010 after seven countries' economies contracted last year.

The ADB's senior Pacific economist Craig Sugden says the only economy in the region not likely to register growth this year is Fiji, though it should grow slightly in 2011.

He says exceptions are Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is projected to grow by four point six percent this year and four percent in 2011 and Mr Sugden says this is because of reforms made to make its economy more competitive.

"In this case Vanuatu has been growing at a reasonable rate despite the global downturn. So the trick is to undertake the various reforms that Vanuatu has done - they have opened up telecoms, they have opened up international air travel, they have allowed foreign investment to come in, and they have undertaken a range of reforms, just to make the economy more streamlined and more attractive."

Mr Sugden puts some of the strong growth in PNG down to the Government spending its reserves before the huge mineral projects come on stream.