Improving business environment critical for Samoa, says IMF

Improving the business environment is key to boosting medium-term growth prospects for Samoa, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund. 

The report - 2018 article IV consultation – highlights medium-term challenges and measures to be implemented by local authorities to create a conducive environment for development. 

According to the report, Samoa should speedily implement measures aimed at strengthening disaster resilience, including those out in the strategy for development of Samoa. 

The report recommended that Samoa should prioritise health and education facilities, which should be upgraded to be fully compliant with disaster and climate resilience plans. Key infrastructure should be upgraded to prevent flooding through the implementation of the green climate project, and climate and disaster resilience should be mainstreamed and integrated into all sector plans, ministry and implementing agencies corporate plans, and into transport, ICT, energy and utility planning systems. 

It said Samoa should push ahead with implementation of their financial inclusion strategy, which would help increase economic opportunities for all Samoans and reduce inequality. 

“The National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) for Samoa 2017-2020 lays out a framework to improve financial inclusion, which is welcomed given Samoa’s relatively large unbanked population (49 percent of Samoan adults are excluded from the formal financial sector).”

NFIS measures that should be prioritised include expanding financial services to underserved segments, especially Samoa’s rural and low-income population, and women and youth, through appropriate products and delivery channels. 

“Develop cost-effective, convenient and safe payment solutions for domestic and international payments, including by promoting digital financial services and institutional innovations (eg branchless baking and mobile money to increase access points in rural areas). 

“Promote financial education through core curriculum in schools, and by integrating financial literacy into the product design and service delivery by financial sector providers.” 

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