The Pacific will not entertain boomerang aid.

This was the sentiment of the University of the South Pacific’s Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia to the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) delegation during the launch of the new Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership-Pacific.

Ahluwalia said the Pacific has had enough of the boomerang aid that is often married into many donor-funded projects.

“In the Pacific, we are really appreciative of the help we get from donor agencies but we are getting a bit thin and tired by the kind of boomerang aid that we see where consultants seems to come from the outside.”

USAID Pacific Islands Mission Director Zema Semunegus assures that this partnership will utilise Pacific experts.

“The approach is different than what, maybe you’ve heard from other donors, in the sense that it focuses on policy strengthening and implementation and is not really bringing in new experts that are not aware of what’s going on locally.”

Semunegus said that the lack of certified cybersecurity experts is a global challenge and isn’t unique to the region.

“That gap or lag exists across the world actually, this project works in other countries to address this problem of the lack of very skilled cybersecurity experts, and it’s not just in this region.”

USAID will build on existing investments in the Pacific’s digital ecosystem, promote regional partnerships, and engage directly with 12 Pacific Island countries through the new Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership-Pacific.