Pacific Economic Survey 2008 is the first of a series of annual surveys that will provide an overview and update of economic developments in the Pacific island region and Timor-Leste. Each survey will also include separate chapters on particular issues of importance to the region. This year’s survey examines the challenges of better connecting the Pacific through improved telecommunication, aviation and shipping services.
There has been an encouraging upturn in economic growth in the Pacific. After negligible growth in the early years of this decade, regional economic growth increased to 3.5 per cent in 2004, averaged 2.8 per cent between 2005 and 2007, and is forecast to reach 4.5 per cent in 2008. While not as strong as growth in North and South Asia, the gap between growth rates in the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean regions is narrowing.
Pacific Economic Survey 2008 covers the 14 Pacific island members of the Pacific Islands Forum and Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste is included because it shares many of the development challenges of the Pacific island nations and because of its close proximity. The survey was guided by a regional steering group of leading regional figures from the Pacific and senior AusAID staff. The principal authors of the Survey were AusAID Chief Economist Dr Stephen Howes and AusAID economic adviser, Matthew Morris, who drew on expertise from the region and around the world.