EIF address at the launch event of the Vanuatu National Single Window Project and the eTrade Readiness Assessment

Luganville, Santo, Vanuatu

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

 

Mr Simon Hess

EIF Coordinator

 

 

Honourable Deputy Prime Minister,

Other honourable Ministers,

Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps and partner organizations, Mayor of Luganville,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is a great pleasure to join you in the launch of a project to establish a National Single Window for trade in Vanuatu, as well as to launch the eTrade Readiness Assessment. The EIF Executive Director was planning to be here in person for the launch of this report, however, was regrettably not able to travel at the last minute.

Launching of these specific initiatives demonstrates the progressive vision of Vanuatu to stimulate the economy and leverage opportunities through international trade for delivering growth and development. 

We are pleased to contribute $1.5 million to the Single Window project. We are even more pleased that we are partnering with the Government of Vanuatu, Government of Australia, World Bank and UNCTAD to generate additional resources to scale up the initiative.

Indeed, this goes to the heart of what the EIF is all about, working with Vanuatu and other Least-developed countries to harness the power of trade as a means for inclusive development. And we so in collaboration with our partners. Trade in its roots is about partners and partnerships, and consequently this is an underlying principle of the EIF.

Globally, the EIF brings together generous resources from 24 donors that are channelled through country owned and demand-driven projects. Some of these donors, such as Australia are here today. In addition to these two projects the EIF has also partly supported the ongoing update to the Vanuatu National Trade Policy Framework.

The EIF was also privileged to partner with the Government of Vanuatu and the Government of New Zealand to invest in the Port Vila seafront beautification project, creating the space for increasing the linkages between tourists and the Ni-Vanuatu economy.

In fact, this project has been the focus of a new short film we produced and was screened on at the World Trade Organization, and is now available online. We will continue to share the great work that you are doing in Vanuatu. This remains an inspiration for many other countries. 

Some of these lessons that we often share with other EIF countries come from the backbone project supporting the key mechanisms for the mainstreaming of trade, and coordination of aid for trade in Vanuatu.

We must commend the excellent work being done through the National Trade Development Committee. Your commitment to the Trade Policy Framework and the way in which you have built and dedicated resources to the effective functioning of the Trade Development Division must be acknowledged. This really is a model of best practice in the EIF and provides a useful model for many other countries when implementing their EIF programmes.

Coming back to the projects being launched today, these are also both clear demonstrations of partnerships in Action. I had mentioned the Donors as partners in the EIF, another core foundation of the EIF are the partnerships we have with the key international agencies.

These include the World Trade Organization, UNDP, ITC, UNIDO and others. This is clearly illustrated through the technical expertise of UNCTAD and their close engagement in both projects today. 

The National Single Window project is built on UNCTAD's ASYCUDA base. Similarly, UNCTAD is the agency undertaking the eTrade Readiness Assessment. We are also privileged to have the lead author from the eTrade Readiness Assessment for Vanuatu here with us today.

In the same vein we are pleased to be able to partner with Australia, one of the major donors to the EIF Trust Fund, and also the EIF Donor Facilitator in Vanuatu. We wish to thank you for your continued and valued partnership. 

The Single Window project also draws on the further support of the World Bank — another EIF partner agency — through complimentary technical support. 

Most importantly, the launch of this National Single Window project and eTrade Readiness Assessment report during Vanuatu's important Agriculture Week very clearly demonstrates that trade cuts across all economic sectors.

Indeed, as the basis for the majority of Vanuatu's trade in goods agriculture is the principle and priority sector for which collaboration will be critical. Together we can ensure that Ni-Vanuatu benefit from increased and facilitated access to international markets including through emerging eCommerce opportunities!   

With these initiatives, we are opening a new chapter for future digital trade relations, both within Vanuatu as well as between Vanuatu and the world.

Digital connectivity means time saved for businesses, greater access to education, job opportunities and better healthcare, and importantly, it helps small businesses to reach global markets at lower costs.

I would also like to one again congratulate the Government of Vanuatu and thank all our partners for the collaboration in developing the National Single Window for Vanuatu. I would also like to express our gratitude to our partners for their time, effort, thoughts and energy to prepare the eTrade Readiness Assessment.

On my next visit to Vanuatu, I look forward to seeing the impacts of increased and smoother trade opportunities through these projects for growing businesses and family incomes in Vanuatu.

 

Thank you, and I wish you all a good day!