Rising challenge - Solomon Star News

Rising challenge

13 July 2014

Suva (Fiji Times) - THE Pacific's working-age population is projected to increase from its present 6.6million to 9.6million by 2030.

However, the Asian Development Bank says only about a third of new workforce entrants in the region can expect to find wage employment if recent years' job creation trends do not improve.

In its latest Pacific Economic Monitor report, which was launched last week, ADB said economies across the Pacific region would face rising challenges in generating needed jobs for their rapidly growing working-age populations in coming years.

"The relatively small size and remoteness of many Pacific economies makes job creation especially difficult in the region," said ADB's Pacific Department director general Xianbin Yao.

"Attracting investment and growing businesses in sectors that can create productive and sustainable job opportunities requires investments in infrastructure to enhance economies' connectivity and reforms to improve their business environments."

The bank said regional growth was projected at 5.2 per cent for 2014 — a slight decrease from its 5.4 per cent forecast in April.

It said Pacific growth would surge to 13.2 per cent next year as a result of the first full year of liquefied natural gas exports from Papua New Guinea (PNG).

"However, sluggish growth in the rest of the Pacific's economies is expected to continue, with average growth in the Pacific economies other than PNG and Timor-Leste expected to run at 2.8 per cent in 2015.

"Inflation in the region is forecast to remain stable at 4.5 per cent through 2014 and 2015," ADB said.

The Pacific Economic Monitor is a biannual review of economic developments in ADB's 14 developing member countries in the Pacific region.

Each issue includes policy briefs on a subject of importance to the region.

- Fiji Tmes