Cooks an example for other nations: Brown

Thursday September 14, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Finance minister Mark Brown. 17091336 Finance minister Mark Brown. 17091336

The Cook Islands have been seen as an example by other nations in the Pacific region for its “good practices”, says finance minister Mark Brown.

 

Brown, who was commenting on the bilateral discussions in which the country participated last week at the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum in Samoa, said government had been asked for advice by other country leaders to help them move forward on certain issues.

He said many countries in the region were baffled as to how the Cook Islands as a country had performed so well.

“We have been seen as an example of good practice in the tourism industry, how we punch well above our weight there, and also in terms of our innovative finance practice that we have engaged in with the ADB (Asian Development Bank) and our development partners,” Brown said.

“They also look up to us on the partnership arrangement that we have with the government of China and how we have been able to engage our local private sector to work with the Chinese companies.

“In other countries, they are struggling to get a foot in the door with these companies, so a lot of side discussions have been around those sorts of things.”

Brown said during the forum, the Cook Islands delegation had held a separate bilateral meeting with the Federated State of Micronesia (FSM) 

He said the meeting was to assist FSM with new developments in the telecommunication industry.

“They were asking questions about their own situation and how we established our cable company which is our share of the Manatoa Cable. We have put that into a (private) company called the Avarua Cable,” Brown said.

“They’re so used to dealing with things from a government department or government agency or a SOE (Special Operations Executive) perspective, that they were hesitant when the World Bank advised them that they should set up a private company to manage and own that particular (Manatoa Cable) asset for them.”

Brown said he had explained how the Cook Islands were managing the asset as a limited liability company rather than operating under a government department.

He said a one-on-one chat with the president of FSM and his ministers had been “very useful for them”.

The Cook Islands also participated in other meetings in a bid to foster diplomatic ties with Western countries.

Brown said they had a number of bilateral meetings with various governments keen to engage with the Cook Islands and develop diplomatic relations.

“They were keen to understand our unique relationship with New Zealand, particularly countries like Germany and Canada.

“Most of our diplomatic relations have been with Asian countries and most recently with South American, Latin countries.

“We engage with our own diplomatic partners. We enter into agreements with agencies around the world and we are members of international agencies.                

 “All of these things we have done for many years on our own, so it’s a surprise for these Western countries to learn how we have been doing business with other countries.”

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