4 Mar 2019

Kiribati look to benefit from management of ocean and air

1:38 pm on 4 March 2019

The president of Kiribati says the country could look to the efficient management of its ocean and air space to help the economy.

Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau

Kiribati President, Taneti Maamau Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

Taneti Maamau made the comments while hosting a state dinner for New Zealand's deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, last week.

The organisation and management of what's known as upper airspace have been under discussion in the Pacific, with countries like Vanuatu tripling their revenue from such initiatives in recent years.

Kiribati's economy is currently dominated by fishing revenue, which accounts for 80 percent of its budget.

But Mr Maamau was also looking to the skies and said New Zealand could help Kiribati with that.

"With a large space of ocean and airspace, we strongly believe that there is much more we can do to maximise return for our people and our country," he said.

"This arrangement will provide efficiency and potential economic benefit."

Mr Maamau was also hopeful the subject could be discussed in more depth at this year's Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' summit in Tuvalu.

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