Minister Sili hails A.D.B's decision to bring major meeting to Pacific

The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuitoti, believes the 52nd Asian Development's (A.D.B.) Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors held for the first time in the Pacific has been a success.

Sili, who led Samoa’s delegation, said the region certainly benefited from the meeting being held in Fiji, calling it “absolutely fantastic.”

Having delegates from Europe, Asia and North America visit the shores of the small island states has helped sensitise them to development issues in the region, especially those from multilateral development banks like the World Bank.

“We all worked really hard to make it happen in Fiji and I must congratulate the Fiji Government and especially the Governor and the people, for their hospitality, their great facilities, it can be very good for not just Fiji but the Pacific Island as well,” Sili said.

The meeting was a gathering of not only the A.D.B. board but also various stakeholders, civil society organisations and private sector to address the goal and works of the bank.

Fijian Prime Minster Josia Voreqe Bainimarama said the fact it was held for the first time in the Pacific Islands is the “end of an era of missed opportunities for the Pacific.”

Asked if the region would see another meeting soon, A.D.B. President Takehiko Nakao said while it has been very nice to have the meeting in the Pacific Islands, there are 68 member states who have already formed a long line of eager hosts.

“In the near future we will meet again in Fiji, but next year in Korea, then the year after next Sri Lanka is already applying,” he said.

Fijian Governor and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the meeting should not be seen as something only hosting by Fiji.

But in a closing address to media delegates, he went into detail describing the nation’s stepping up to the “monumental task.”

“In many ways this meeting represents the largest advertisement ever showcasing Fiji – Fijian businesses, fashion, art, history, culture, products and of course more importantly, the Fijian people to the world,” he said.

“We are making a big move into the MICE market (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions), taking advantage of the Fijian brand and this segment of the tourism market.”

Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum said the government will be debriefing the meeting soon and while there surely will have been a learning curve, the level of professionalism saw the meeting run smoothly.

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