EU’s ACP Business Climate facility commits about FJD$2.4m towards Regional Cluster Initiative

The Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) in collaboration with the ACP Business Climate Facility (BizClim) is soon to commence with its Regional Cluster Initiative in the Pacific project, targeting four Pacific island countries???Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The key objective is to support business growth through the development of pilot clustering initiatives in each of the four countries. The project is building on the recommendations from the Business Value Chain Study, conducted by PIPSO, on improving business value chains in the Pacific region. That study highlighted the importance of enhanced business development through improved cluster business policies; legislations and policy strategies to develop industry clusters; better information sharing and networking; and improved capacities at the national level.

Project Team Leader, Ifor Ffowcs-Williams said, ?economic development with a clustering?approach is now on the agenda of every European Union country. It has proved to be a?practical route to supporting business growth and export development.?

The project, in the larger scheme of things, is intended to create opportunities for businesses along the value chain to realise their potential. This will also have positive impacts on the growth of individual businesses and industries as clusters provide that platform for increased productivity and efficiency. It is envisaged that this will also promote reforms in areas of macroeconomic policy, legal and policy frameworks and other aspects of enabling mechanisms to support private sector development in the countries.

To launch this process, a coordination meeting and 2-day training workshop will be held on 3 & 4 March in Nadi, Fiji, to bring together representatives from the four countries national private sector organisations (NPSOs), and the consulting teams assisting in the project delivery.

Mereia Volavola, CEO of PIPSO said, ?the project is an important one for PIPSO and our?membership as we endeavour to harness the business opportunities at national level and?increase their growth potential.? She added, ?the team of consultants and national?counterparts from the NPSOs working together to deliver this shows the strong ownership from the private sector and its desire to see an initiative like this cluster project come tofruition.?

Mr Ffowcs-Williams concluded, ?this EU support enables a welcomed first testing of the?clustering concept to the small economies in the South Pacific.?

The European Union?s African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Business Climate (BizClim) facility has committed ?932,000 to this project, over a 7 month period which equates to about?FJD$2.4m.