Efforts are underway by the Fijian Government to develop a Rural Development Policy for Fiji.
Key government agencies and stakeholders have converged in Nadi to take part in the inaugural Rural Development Symposium to provide their valuable input in the development of this policy.
Speaking at the opening this morning, Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Permanent Secretary, Meleti Bainimarama said the objective is brainstorm, get ideas and views from stakeholders on how they could better serve the rural population.
“Out of this symposium, we need to get a clear direction on what other ministries’ roles are in rural development. At the end of the two days we will come up with a draft and a communique,” PS Bainimarama said.
The symposium was opened by the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Fiji, His Excellency Mr. Qian Bo who said the first of its kind meeting showcased the importance that the Fijian Government attached to rural development.
“China and Fiji are both developing countries. Under the framework of South-South Cooperation and based on the bilateral exchange on the actual needs of Fiji, China has provided Fiji with various assistance in rural development in recent years covering agriculture, roads, bridges, energy, health, education, climate change, disaster relief and human resources training”
“China’s assistance has made positive contributions to Fijian people’s well-being as well as the social and economic development in rural areas,” Ambassador Qian said.
He said rural development would continue to be an important area for bilateral cooperation between Fiji and China.
The symposium would also have five thematic sessions focusing on Transforming the Rural Economy, Connectivity to Information Communication Technology, Financial Inclusion, Economic Empowerment & Small and Micro Enterprise, Governance in Rural Development as well as Rural Development and Emerging Issues.
Close to 140 participants from local, regional and international organizations are taking part in the symposium.
The symposium, with the theme “Sustainable Rural Development for Fiji”, will end tomorrow.