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Private sector to conduct dialogue

Saturday 25 August 2012 | Published in Regional

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The private sector has until Wednesday to collaboratively draft a statement for Forum leaders to consider.

Businesspeople from the Cook Islands will join their regional counterparts in a private sector dialogue next week – a full two days of lectures, discussions and brainstorming sessions.

The private sector dialogue is a regular offshoot of the Pacific Islands Forum, and this year the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce is hosting it.

On Monday the chamber will co-host a lunch with business and trade minister Mark Brown, during which CIMTECH (Cook Islands Medical Technologies) will make a presentation to all private sector dialogue participants.

Teresa Manarangi-Trott is chairing this year’s private sector dialogue, and will formally open the two-day event at 1.30pm on Monday. Slotted in after hers is another speech from Peter Kiely, who chaired last year’s private sector dialogue at Auckland’s Forum.

Session one begins at 2pm on Monday, and is focused around renewable energy solutions.

David Wright will speak about business models supporting renewable energy in the Pacific, with a view to encouraging public-private sector partnerships and potential replication in other Pacific countries. Discussion will follow.

Session two will focus on financing clean and green initiatives. A European Investment Bank delegate will discuss financing available to the private sector for clean and green initiatives, and will touch on the process for accessing that kind of funding. The discussion will cover examples of projects in the region that have been financed through similar channels.

On Tuesday, registered businesspeople will breakfast with Pacific Islands Forum leaders at Edgewater. A recap of the previous day will follow the meal, which is being hosted by PIPSO and ANZ.

Session three kicks off Tuesday morning’s agenda, and focuses on leadership and training.

Entitled ‘Building Business Success by Investing in People’, the session will be led by Air Rarotonga managing director and Cook Islands Tourism Authority chairman Ewan Smith. Smith will discuss strategies and opportunities for developing skills in the airline business for Cook Islanders, and apply his solutions to the context of the wider Pacific.

Following will be a presentation by deputy director-general of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency James Movick about sustainable fisheries in the Pacific.

The Asian Development Bank will give a talk on ‘secure transaction frameworks’ – the legal systems which govern the use of property as collateral for loans – and the International Finance Corporation will present an item on small- and medium-enterprise financing in the region.

Following will be a presentation by the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation on what can be done to support private sector financing in the Pacific.

At 12.30pm on Tuesday, business delegates will attend a lunch with New Zealand trade minister Murray McCully, hosted by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

The last dialogue session will examine the effectiveness of the dialogue, and at 3pm all attendees will finalise their collective statement for presentation to Forum leaders the following day.

That night is the official opening of the Pacific Islands Forum. Private sector dialogue participants will present their statement to Pacific leaders at a plenary session on Wednesday morning.