Samoa honours development partners and international friendships
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi used his New Year’s Eve address in part to thank Samoa and its friends in developing the nation.
In a year overwhelmed with concerns about national debt levels, no time was wasted in acknowledging the projects behind the numbers.
“We continue to see upgraded infrastructural developments, institutional building, and increasing opportunities for building capacities,” he said.
“We have seen the completion of the airport terminal buildings, and the Apia Ports extension phase, providing greater berthing space for vessels.
Tuilaepa made special mention of “people to people linkages”, in workshops and attachments around the world for Samoan people to upskill and develop, and of the Tui Samoa Cable.
“We have secured the necessary infrastructure for improved connectivity, but we must not detract from the importance of cybersecurity considerations.
In particular, Tuilaepa thanked Australia, China, European Union, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States and multilateral financial institutions and organizations; the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and its Agencies, and the Pacific C.R.O.P (council of regional organisations) agencies.
But the development efforts were happening here at home too, and Tuilaepa took time to honour farmers and exporters putting Samoa on the market map.
“At this juncture, I wish to make special mention, of all our farmers, in particular, those operating at the commercial level, who have promoted the resurgence of production and export of bananas, and the resumption of taro exports to American Samoa,” he said.
2018, which Radio New Zealand called “when the world discovered the Pacific” was a busy year for the international community, each paying Samoa and its neighbours new attentions.
This year Britain announced it would open a British High Commission in Apia in 2019, New Zealand announced a “Pacific Reset” in funding and attention to the Pacific, and Australia launched a billion dollar “Pacific Step Up”.
On this and other developments, Tuilaepa said the “rapid unfolding of a changing geopolitical landscape in the Pacific region,” has not changed the Pacific’s determination to protect itself.
“While individual countries, have had to carefully assess, the benefits of development cooperation bilaterally, they have also been resolute, in driving what is best delivered regionally, such as the management of fisheries and marine resources and climate change, under the aegis of the Blue Pacific platform.”