Vanuatu

ANZ extends fee waiver for money transfers to Pacific

Latest figures show the value and volume of transfers made by ANZ customers to the Pacific has increased substantially on the same period last year.

In February 2021 ANZ Australia and New Zealand customers sent a combined volume of 8,761 International Money Transfers worth AUD$12m (US$9.2 million) – a 95 percent increase in volume and 33 percent increase in value compared with the same period last year.

Money sent back to the Pacific from overseas, known as remittances, can make up a large part of a Pacific household's disposable income - up to 25 percent.

Japan to give $41 million aid to Asian and Pacific nations over vaccine supply

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday the grant aid will be used to secure cold-storage facilities, transport vehicles and other equipment necessary for the stable delivery of vaccines in those countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, according to the ministry.

Japan aims to help ensure the delivery of vaccines "to each and every person in the all corners of developing countries" with the hope of containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible, it said, adding the aid will be delivered through the United Nations Children's Fund.

New campaign to help Pacific islanders tackle online fraud and keep remittances flowing

The ‘Get Safe Online Pacific’ guidance provides essential tips and information for people across the Pacific to help make sure their experience of sending or receiving money overseas is successful, safe and economical.

Sending and receiving remittances to and from Pacific Island countries has become hugely important to the very survival of island nations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the World Bank, in 2017 alone nearly 20% of Tonga’s GDP came from remittances.

Pacific Heads of Customs administrations pledge to work together

At the conclusion of the OCO Heads Annual Conference on October 20, themed “Working together to build a safer Blue Pacific”, leaders of Customs administrations in the region stated the loss in revenue collection for their governments due to the closure of borders as their biggest cost of COVID-19.

However, in addition to generating revenue for their governments, Customs administrations are increasingly being presented with other challenges such as the rise of illicit drugs, contraband goods and having to crew quarantine centers.

UAE sends medical aid to Pacific Island countries in fight against COVID-19

The countries include Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Cook Islands, and Niue.

Commenting on the delivery, Abdulla Al Subousi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UAE to Australia, said, "Today’s aid shipment to Pacific island countries reflects the UAE’s continued efforts to support and stand by these countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 by providing critical medical supplies and protection to strengthen the efforts of healthcare personnel."

Modern slavery rife in NZ and Pacific Islands, charity claims

The Walk Free report identifies cases of forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and forced marriage in the Pacific.

The report, Murky waters: A qualitative assessment of modern slavery in the Pacific region, said exploitation was fuelled by widespread poverty, migration, and the abuse of cultural practices.

COVID-19:Melanesian bubble 'not worth risk' to health

The economic strains caused by COVID-19 have prompted leaders of the five member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, to discuss a potential bubble. 

At a leaders' meeting last week in Port Vila, Acting Director of the Secretariat, George Hoa'au, said a Five Point Sustainability Plan was being developed to help ensure members are resilient to the challenges. 

But commentator Elisapeci Waqanivala said that the discussion isn't providing enough details for people to be aware of its real intention.

Aviation safety sector works together to respond to TC Harold

This is part of efforts to assist the operators as they respond to Tropical Cyclone Harold.

“PASO is currently providing technical expertise to CAAV to assist with airworthiness certificates renewals for commercial chartered operators’ aircraft that have had major maintenance carried out,” said PASO Operations Manager, Netava Waqa.

In-country COVID-19 testing for 17 Pacific Island countries expected soon

According to the Director of the Public Health Division of the Pacific Community (SPC) Paula Vivili, only five countries currently are able to offer in-country testing.

These countries are Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea

Israel-Pacific Leaders Summit becomes an established Forum

“These Summit’s will be open to all Pacific Island Countries as it will further strengthen the cooperation with the State of Israel in disaster preparedness through the exchange of knowledge, experience, state of art technology, and courses offered in Israel by Israeli experts. This will also enable Israel as per President Rueven Rivlin’s, affirmation that we will continue and strengthen support for humanitarian assistance in cases of emergency and during disasters,” Israel’s Ambassador to the Pacific Islands, Ambassador Tibor Schlosser said.