Australia's investments in private sector development in Fiji work on two levels.
At the policy/regulatory level, Australia supports a range of structural and regulatory reforms that have been prioritised by the Fiji Government. We do this by investing in programs that are designed to strengthen economic regulations. They also seek to advance broader public sector reforms to improve performance and accountability. Through these programs we are improving the enabling environment for the private sector. We are helping to provide greater certainty and clarity of regulation so that businesses can invest more and we are increasing access to low-cost inputs through more competitive markets.
At a micro level we work directly with business and industry groups to stimulate investment and trade, and to create economic opportunities for the poor, particularly in the tourism, agriculture and agri-business sectors.
Institutional Partnerships Program (IPP)
Up to $16 million, 2015-2019
This program aims to improve the regulatory environment for the private sector and help build a stronger Fijian public sector with a focus on economic governance, public sector reform and strengthening institutions such as Parliament and the Fijian Elections Office.
Market Development Facility (MDF)
Up to $17.5 million for Phase 2, 2017 – 2022
The Market Development Facility (MDF) is a multi-country program that began in Fiji in 2011 and has since expanded to Timor Leste (2012), Pakistan (2013), PNG and Sri Lanka (2015). MDF stimulates business innovation and private sector investment for development outcomes, particularly poverty reduction and women's economic empowerment.
In Phase 1, MDF partnered with over 40 businesses across the horticulture, tourism, and export processing sectors in Fiji. Through these partnerships, the program generated around 220 full-time jobs, USD12 million in additional economic activity and reached 5,500 beneficiaries.
The program has been involved in a number of firsts for Fiji, including local production of agricultural lime, which is helping improve soil health to make farming more productive, and Fiji's first locally manufactured chocolate and coffee. It also worked with 27 tourism businesses to set up two dedicated destination marketing organisations to tourism development in Kadavu and Ra.
Australia has extended the MDF program in Fiji for another five years. MDF will build on the success from Phase 1 by focusing on export processing (agricultural and non-agricultural), tourism, business enabling services, and business incubator networks.
In Phase 2, MDF aims to implement approximately 65 partnerships and 12 formal influencing events to achieve the following results by 2026: reach 48,500 beneficiaries, leverage USD5m in private investment, and generate USD18.5m in market transactions and 2,250 jobs.
A review by MDF advisory group in March 2018 found MDF has built a solid reputation with businesses and government agencies and has potential for supporting long-term market-wide changes in Fiji’s economy that benefits poor women and men.
For more information see the Market Development Facility website.
DFAT-IFC partnership: supporting private sector development
Up to $12 million 2016-2020
We are partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support the Fiji Government achieve its economic development priorities on improving small-medium enterprise performance, building Fiji's international trade competitiveness, and stimulating private sector and foreign direct investment.
This partnership has set a number of ambitious goals, including generating USD200 million in new private sector investment and improving the economic empowerment of 10,000 women by June 2020.
Significant work is underway in supporting the Fiji Government with the Green Bond initiative, Fiji's 2021 Tourism Development Plan, a market assessment for the Special Economic Zone in the western region, and a review of Fiji's Investment Policy Framework and Act. Under the partnership, we are also supporting the Fiji Government’s efforts to introduce disaster risk insurance to low-income households.
For more information about IFC, see www.ifc.org
Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP)—Phase 2
Up to $9 million, 2014 – 2020
PFIP is a Pacific-wide program that has helped over 1.78 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.
Australia has supported PFIP to work with the Reserve Bank of Fiji and Fiji's Ministry of Education to mainstream financial education into the school curriculum, targeting all school children in Fiji. This means that every year some 200,000 students in Years 1 – 12 are given the building blocks for lifelong skills to better manage money, make investments, and interact with the financial sector.
PFIP is piloting a project with the Fiji Government as part of its commitment to the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) to digitise payments for public services. The program is also supporting innovation in financial products and new business models by the private sector, including the introduction of mobile money, in-store banking and micro-insurance pilots.
For more information about PFIP, see www.pfip.org