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Thursday 7 April 2016 | Published in Regional


KIRIBATI – Decentralisation, free education and a lift in copra prices are some of the priorities of the administration of Kiribati’s new president Taneti Maamau.

Maamau – the country’s fifth president –- was sworn in in March, after winning the country’s Presidential election with a clear majority of votes.

His presidency is the country’s first change in leadership in more than a decade, after the former president Anote Tong, retired after serving the maximum three terms allowed under the constitution.

Maamau said he is excited about the journey ahead but says he is aware the people of Kiribati have high expectations.

“There are numerous challenges - population, urbanisation issues, youth unemployment and the need to develop the infrastructure. Most of the infrastructure needs a lot of upgrading,” he said.

“I think the first is the needs by the copra covers to increase the copra price from $1 a kilo to $2 a kilo, and that means breaching the cap to assist those who really need the assistance - more cash in their pockets,” Maamau said, adding that his plan to introduce free education would help many families struggling financially. - RNZI