PRESS STATEMENT - 4th February 2010 - The Government of Japan will contribute US$200,000 to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for two regional projects that support economic development in the region.

The contribution is part of Japan's annual support to the activities of the Forum Secretariat. The funding will:
. support the establishment of the Business Development Fund (formerly the Marketing Support Fund), to be managed by the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), and
. provide assistance to increase foreign direct investment in FICs.

"I wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the Government of Japan for continuing to support the Secretariat's work programme, and the economic development of our region," says Feleti Teo, Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Mr Teo added: "With the decline in foreign investment in Pacific island countries in the wake of the Global Economic Crisis, attracting investment is an ongoing challenge for Pacific island countries. Consequently, the Forum Secretariat has received a growing number of requests for assistance as countries review their policy frameworks in an attempt to attract new investors and strengthen their domestic industry."

"This makes the Increasing Investment in Forum Island Countries project particularly important as it will provide the much needed assistance to Forum island countries "

The project will be undertaken by the Forum Secretariat's Economic Governance Programme, which will work closely with Pacific Islands Trade and Invest offices in Auckland, Sydney and Beijing to identify investors and connect them with enterprise in Forum island countries.

Funding for PIPSO will strengthen the private sector through capacity building programs in product development, market research and promotional activities as well as technical advisory services.
PIPSO's Business Development Fund will strengthen the private sector by supporting capacity building in product development, market research and promotional activities, as well as technical advisory services.