Aid-private sector deal welcomed

29/07/2013

A new agreement between AusAID and Australian cruise company Carnival to promote economic development in the Pacific region is being welcomed in the region’s leadership and business circles.<!--more-->

Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil welcomed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed earlier this month in his country. The MoU between AusAID and Carnival is the first that the Australian Government’s international development agency has made with a private company.

The agreement focuses on sustainable economic development in the Pacific region with training and support programs in Vanuatu and PNG. Carnival Cruises said it planned to train and employ more Ni-Vanuatu staff on its liners and run courses to help develop cruise-related businesses.

CEO of Carnival Australia Ann Sherry said she hoped those initiatives could be expanded to other destinations. “If we can get the right training and the right support for hiring people in the Pacific, I think there’s certainly more that can be done. It’s one of those areas that’s not easy to crack, but once you work with a community there's so much you can do on the employment front,” she said.

Forty per cent of Vanuatu’s GDP is derived from tourism. AusAID Director-General Peter Baxter said the deal had the potential to raise local incomes and boost employment. “We understand that private sector-led growth is the best way to improve people's living standards,” he said.

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