A two–day workshop to update the Diagnostic Trade Integrated Study at the T.A.T.T.E. Conference Centre was immensely useful for the participants.
Relevant stakeholders were invited by the government and K.V.A Consult to discuss strategies to improve the competitiveness of the country’s economy.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi opened the meeting.
For most of the participants, the two-day meeting was extremely helpful in terms of identifying the economic situation of today, and the progress of the initial Diagnostic Trade Integrated Study launched in 2010.
“One of the things we are trying to address is the problem of unstable supply of coconuts and other local products that we’re processing and exporting,” said Natasha Kolose of Samoa Trust Estates Corporation (S.T.E.C.).
The Corporation benefited from the study implemented by K.V.A Consult Ltd before, and this time, the report did support S.T.E.C.’s economic strategy again.
“It has been helpful for us in so far as it shows us to recognize where we fit in the overall framework of trade, especially within the area of exports. Because it is a well-known fact that Samoa is trying to boost its exports and lessen its deficit.”
In terms of challenges the meeting looked into Samoa’s isolation from other possible business partners.
“Because we’re so far away from the rest of the world, it is hard to determine where Samoa’s focus should be placed.
Should it now be more on the services side rather than on goods because we have a narrow recourse base, or not?” Ms Kolose explained.
Members of the private sector were equally impressed with the content of the meeting. Mona Tiufea Lio, of Apia-based Betham Brothers Enterprises said the meeting was extremely useful.
“Early on in the workshop, we realized that we can learn a lot about improving our process of exporting from Apia to overseas,” he said.
“We’re also looking for other techniques to increase the number of our exports apart from our usual commodities. But the study also helped us to get an idea on how the services here in Apia could be improved.” For Nadia Meredith-Hunt, the C.E.O of K.V.A, the workshops outcomes were extremely encouraging. “There’s been a lot of positive feedback and overall, this was a really good turnout,” she said. “From our side, we were especially satisfied that all of the key stakeholders have shown up. So hopefully, with the outcome of this year’s workshop, we will be able to provide a concrete plan of action for the next four or five years.”