On Tuesday, September 26, BCIU in partnership with Google, L3Harris, United Airlines, and Walmart hosted a business meeting in Washington, DC during the U.S.-Pacific Island Forum Leader’s Summit which brought together senior Biden-Harris Administration officials, heads of state, senior private sector executives, and other stakeholders. The aim of the gathering was to help deepen U.S.-Pacific ties and expand public private partnerships to provide greater economic prosperity and resilience in the region. The dialogue highlighted the need to build secure and resilient connectivity, boost the digital economy, and foster increased sustainability, particularly in the areas of clean energy and climate change mitigation.

President Biden made a series of announcements at the summit the day prior which can be found here. Of note, the administration announced that the U.S. now recognizes the Cook Islands and Niue as independent, sovereign nations and will proceed with establishing formal diplomatic relations; a 10-year, $600m agreement to support fisheries management, development and sustainability; a new $3m request to Congress to fund a USTDA feasibility study for the new Central Pacific Cable, which would run subsea and connect multiple Pacific Island countries; and a $10m Congressional request to fund a range of regional infrastructure and development projects related to clean energy, digital, healthcare, and transportation.

Speaker Excerpts

Peter Tichansky, President & CEO, BCIU: “BCIU is pleased to convene this important and timely discussion during the U.S.-Pacific Islands Forum Summit between regional governments, senior Biden-Harris Administration officials, and our corporate members. The needs of the Pacific Island nations can only be met through innovative B2G partnerships across a range of critical areas like climate change, connectivity, digital economy, and more.”

The Honorable Janet Yellen, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury: “As the impacts of climate change worsen, we are increasingly focused on finding ways to improve access to climate finance, including through the multilateral development banks, and climate funds. This can provide crucial support for Pacific Island countries to take necessary steps to adapt and build resilience to future climate shocks. The United States is committed to working together with you to build an economically strong and resilient Pacific and to foster trade and investment for the good of the United States and your economies.”

The Honorable Mark Brown, Prime Minister of Cook Islands: “We’ve just spent the last few days talking about Pacific countries areas of regional concern and national concern centered around the impact of climate, and the need for Pacific countries to build resilience to mitigate the impacts of climate change. There is not much we can do to compel other countries to control their carbon emissions, so we need to protect ourselves and access to climate finance is critical to this.”

The Honorable James Marape, Prime Minister of Papa New Guinea: “To American investors, my message to you is that you cannot afford to miss the boat. Papa New Guinea remains a friend of the United States and we invite American business to take up residency in the Pacific.”

The Honorable Scott Nathan, CEO, U.S. Development Finance Corporation: “DFC is committed to unleashing the power of private capital to meet the demand for high-quality, high-impact projects in the Pacific Islands. To that end, in partnership with USAID, DFC is pleased to announce a microfinance facility of up to $50 million to expand financing for MSMEs in the Pacific Islands that will be focused on climate resilience and women-owned enterprises.”

The Honorable Enoh Ebong, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency: “We work alongside U.S. industry deploying trusted digital infrastructure across the Pacific Islands. USTDA is funding this effort because it will enhance the resilience of the region’s digital infrastructure and help expand secure high speed internet connectivity.”


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