The Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with the New Zealand High Commission, hosted a business breakfast on Friday at the Taumeasina Island Resort.
The Breakfast was held in honour of New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Tupa’imatuna Alofi o Taoa Murray McCully, who was in Samoa for two days.
This is the Minister’s last official visit to Samoa as New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The breakfast was well attended by industry leaders and representatives from the various industry bodies covering agriculture, aviation, financial institutions, ICT, and tourism. In addition, there was representation from the Small Business Enterprise Centre, Women in Business Development and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry &Labour.
In his opening remarks, Chamber past president, Tupa’i Klaus Stunzner, gave an overview of the challenges and opportunities that the Samoa Private Sector is currently facing or looking to capitalize on.
Challenges noted included the looming closure of Yazaki Samoa and Samoa Tuna Processors in American Samoa; regional connectivity; and access to finance. Opportunities included the drive by manufacturers for more value adding activities and the arrival of the Tui Samoa Cable later on in the year.
Tupa’i McCully in addressing the audience, talked about New Zealand’s desire to provide assistance that is “impact focused and transformational’ in areas such as Tourism, Renewable Energy, Fisheries and Agriculture.
A lively and interactive question and answer session enabled participants to share their views on the challenges and opportunities specific to their industries. A challenge was issued to aviation representatives to increase connectivity and to create spinoff benefits for the region.
Participants acknowledged that the issues were complex and required a collaborative approach to address.