Visa-free Pacific essential for investment


The Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) recognised the desire of some members for a visa-free Pacific.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad said visa-free travel will allow for deep and meaningful regional integration.

Prasad said a visa-free PIF region is also the surest way of responding to the continuous loss of skills and knowledge in the region.

He said that the advantages of such a policy will help enhance business engagements and investments.

“And when we talk about visa-free travel, what we are saying is that, essentially, the movement of people, travel ease will also support businesses, investments, and you know we talked about how superfunds and investment funds can move across the Pacific island countries to promote specific kinds of investment.”

Prasad said visa-free travel is critical to promoting unity among the Pacific Islands Forum members.

Meanwhile, Pacific Island leaders are exploring co-investing opportunities with the Pacific Investment Fund to help Pacific Island economies.

Pacific Island Forum Chair and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, said leaders at the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting support the initiative.

Brown said they will identify commercially viable infrastructure projects for investment by regional sovereign wealth funds and super funds in the Pacific countries.

“Of course, this particular fund would need to be effective for their members and would need to attract a return, so there will be specific types of investments that will suit this particular investment fund, particularly those that do have a revenue stream attached to them.”

Brown said the Pacific Investment Fund is a group of the Pacific’s sovereign wealth funds, provident funds, and trusts with a combined pool of over $90 billion.

The fund is looking at opportunities where they can use those funds to invest here in the Pacific