Pelenise Alofa Pilitati a businesswoman from Kiribati who attended the forum, said life has always been a struggle.
Pelenise Alofa Pilitati a businesswoman from Kiribati who attended the forum, said life has always been a struggle.

World Bank issues bleak outlook for Pacific islands nations



CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA // The World Bank has outlined its vision for economic survival in impoverished parts of the South Pacific, with more islanders being encouraged to head overseas to work in wealthier countries. The bank believes increased emigration and remittances from a growing army of expatriates could be part of a solution to chronic disadvantage in the region, where charities estimate that one person in three lives in poverty. Prosperity has been elusive in many remote "sea-locked" states, from Kiribati to Palau, one of the most aid-dependent communities on Earth. "These small and scattered islands have low economic density and small markets," said a World Bank report released earlier this month at a regional summit in the tropical Australian city of Cairns. "Children in island families receiving remittances from migrant family members show strong improvements in education and health outcomes, suggesting that enhanced labour mobility could be a powerful driver for longer-term welfare in these countries." Australia has supported the bank's plans to assist some of the most isolated places in the world. "People often fail to understand the depth of the challenges which the governments of many of the Pacific Island countries face when you look at the ... location and the scale of the operation they have to do in providing basic services to a very dispersed population across great distances with few resources," said Bob McMullan, Australia's parliamentary secretary for international development assistance. Historically, legions of islanders have migrated to Australia and New Zealand, while 40 per cent of Tuvaluan men work as merchant sailors for foreign shipping companies. The prospects of accelerating the exodus have, however, been jeopardised by the global economic meltdown. It has caused mounting unemployment in developed nations, where many migrant workers have lost their jobs. "For countries like Samoa and Tonga, which have a lot of people working overseas, remittances are the major vulnerability for them and that income is already falling," explained Barry Coates, the executive director of Oxfam New Zealand, who greeted the World Bank's labour mobility proposal with scepticism. "It is not a good development model to have to send your people abroad and what it does sometimes cause is social problems where families are left without their breadwinner.

"Yes, they bring back money but in many other ways the family comes under strain, particularly women while the men are away working," he said. "Real development work really needs to be undertaken so that societies can themselves develop a viable economy without having to hop on an aeroplane and go to another country," Mr Coates added. The international financial crash has severely dented tourism in the South Pacific and, while levels of foreign aid have survived the crisis largely unscathed, export prices have fallen and the cost of fuel and food have risen sharply. In Kiribati, a former British colony comprising 33 coral atolls that span the Equator in between Australia and Hawaii, the problems are intensifying. "We have a lot of people in Kiribati who are unemployed. We do not have enough jobs for everybody," said Pelenise Alofa Pilitati, a businesswoman, during a visit to Cairns to add her voice to discussions at the Pacific Islands Forum. "Life has always been a struggle and they have always managed because that is the Pacific way. We are not really controlled by money. Every day is about survival," she said. Kiribati, with a population of about 112,000, is one of the least developed states in the South Pacific, where a lack of education and training has inhibited the growth of an isolated economy that relies heavily on exports of fish and copra. Mrs Pilitati believes it's time for her people to take control of their one great resource: the sea. "If Kiribati is really going to be strong economically, they shouldn't be afraid to go into business especially using the ocean that we have. We are not using it wisely. We are letting people come to fish in our waters. "Fish is a natural resource but the overseas companies come and take our fish and we are left with very little," she stated. As poor communities fight to survive, economic necessity has increasingly delivered telling blows to the environment, which has been degraded by extensive land-clearing, mining and overfishing. Australia's national science agency, the CSIRO, has been working in pristine areas of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to promote sustainable living through, for example, ecotourism and biodiversity payments, where large corporations or foreign governments compensate islanders to preserve fragile coral reefs and rainforests. "What we have to demonstrate is that economic development and conservation can go hand-in-hand," explained Dr James Butler, a CSIRO researcher in Cairns. "The will is there and the necessity is there too. So, people have been driven to think about these alternatives. Unfortunately short-term, quick fix options are often much easier to pursue. "Consequently a mining enterprise might seem a lot more appealing to locals on the ground and governments than putting more effort in to something more sustainable that perhaps takes longer to establish," he said. pmercer@thenational.ae

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The details

Heard It in a Past Life

Maggie Rogers

(Capital Records)

3/5

Company profile

Date started: January 2022
Founders: Omar Abu Innab, Silvia Eldawi, Walid Shihabi
Based: Dubai
Sector: PropTech / investment
Employees: 40
Stage: Seed
Investors: Multiple

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Olive Gaea
Started: 2021
Co-founders: Vivek Tripathi, Jessica Scopacasa
Based: Dubai
Licensed by: Dubai World Trade Centre
Industry: Climate-Tech, Sustainability
Funding: $1.1 million
Investors: Cornerstone Venture Partners and angel investors
Number of employees: 8

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Sukuk explained

Sukuk are Sharia-compliant financial certificates issued by governments, corporates and other entities. While as an asset class they resemble conventional bonds, there are some significant differences. As interest is prohibited under Sharia, sukuk must contain an underlying transaction, for example a leaseback agreement, and the income that is paid to investors is generated by the underlying asset. Investors must also be prepared to share in both the profits and losses of an enterprise. Nevertheless, sukuk are similar to conventional bonds in that they provide regular payments, and are considered less risky than equities. Most investors would not buy sukuk directly due to high minimum subscriptions, but invest via funds.

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Getting there:

Flying to Guyana requires first reaching New York with either Emirates or Etihad, then connecting with JetBlue or Caribbean Air at JFK airport. Prices start from around Dh7,000.

 

Getting around:

Wildlife Worldwide offers a range of Guyana itineraries, such as its small group tour, the 15-day ‘Ultimate Guyana Nature Experience’ which features Georgetown, the Iwokrama Rainforest (one of the world’s four remaining pristine tropical rainforests left in the world), the Amerindian village of Surama and the Rupununi Savannah, known for its giant anteaters and river otters; wildlifeworldwide.com

Where to Find Me by Alba Arikha
Alma Books 

Scores:

Day 4

England 290 & 346
Sri Lanka 336 & 226-7 (target 301)

Sri Lanka require another 75 runs with three wickets remaining

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

SERIE A FIXTURES

Saturday (UAE kick-off times)

Atalanta v Juventus (6pm)

AC Milan v Napoli (9pm)

Torino v Inter Milan (11.45pm)

Sunday

Bologna v Parma (3.30pm)

Sassuolo v Lazio (6pm)

Roma v Brescia (6pm)

Verona v Fiorentina (6pm)

Sampdoria v Udinese (9pm)

Lecce v Cagliari (11.45pm)

Monday

SPAL v Genoa (11.45pm)

Getting there and where to stay

Etihad Airways operates seasonal flights from Abu Dhabi to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport. Services depart the UAE on Wednesdays and Sundays with outbound flights stopping briefly in Rome, return flights are non-stop. Fares start from Dh3,315, flights operate until September 18, 2022. 

The Radisson Blu Hotel Nice offers a western location right on Promenade des Anglais with rooms overlooking the Bay of Angels. Stays are priced from €101 ($114), including taxes.

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Ten10 Cricket League

Venue and schedule Sharjah Cricket Stadium, December 14 to 17

Teams

Maratha Arabians Leading player: Virender Sehwag; Top picks: Mohammed Amir, Imad Wasim; UAE players: Shaiman Anwar, Zahoor Khan

Bengal Lions Leading player: Sarfraz Ahmed; Top picks: Sunil Narine, Mustafizur Rahman; UAE players: Mohammed Naveed, Rameez Shahzad

Kerala Kings Leading player: Eoin Morgan; Top picks: Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir; UAE players: Rohan Mustafa, Imran Haider

Pakhtoons Leading player: Shahid Afridi; Top picks: Fakhar Zaman, Tamim Iqbal; UAE players: Amjad Javed, Saqlain Haider

Punjabi Legends Leading player: Shoaib Malik; Top picks: Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan; UAE players: Ghulam Shabber, Shareef Asadullah

Team Sri Lanka Cricket Will be made up of Colombo players who won island’s domestic limited-overs competition

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Silver
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Bronze
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

The specs: 2019 BMW i8 Roadster

Price, base: Dh708,750

Engine: 1.5L three-cylinder petrol, plus 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power: 374hp (total)

Torque: 570Nm (total)

Fuel economy, combined: 2.0L / 100km

Brief scores:

Kashima Antlers 0

River Plate 4

Zuculini 24', Martinez 73', 90+2', Borre 89' (pen)