14 Jan 2011

Samoa freest Pacific Islands economy in think tank ranking

3:20 pm on 14 January 2011

The 2010 Wall Street Journal-Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom has put Samoa highest among Pacific Island countries.

Samoa is 84th among the 179 countries listed, with Fiji two places behind in 86th place.

Vanuatu and Tonga make the top 120 countries, while Solomon Islands and Kiribati are in the bottom quarter.

The report says Samoa's weaknesses include a small, underdeveloped financial sector, which does not supply adequate financing for entrepreneurial activity, and significant barriers to foreign investment.

It says in Fiji corruption and the weak rule of law undermine productivity, and financial freedom has deteriorated as a result of continuing state interference.

The index is head by Hong Kong, followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.