26 Apr 2005

UN: Pacific Island economies keep up growth despite instability and corruption

5:33 pm on 26 April 2005

The United Nations says the economies of the Pacific Islands region continue to experience modest growth.

The UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific says Pacific Island economies have Gross Domestic Product growth rates averaging below five per cent.

The Commission's Executive Secretary, Kim Hak-Su, has told a meeting in Bangkok this week that such a growth rate isn't enough to meet the region's development challenges.

The commission's report says higher prices for primary commodities - including cocoa, copra, palm oil, copper and gold - have benefited PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

It says strong economic growth in Australia and New Zealand continues to underpin tourism expansion in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

However, the report says political instability and corruption are the main impediments to investment.

It says the insecurity of land titles in most countries does not give investors confidence that policies will remain stable and contracts will be honoured.