World Bank: Pacific nations need to expand digital services

World Bank projections say Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will see a double-digit contraction in GDP of 12.5, 15 and 13 percent, respectively, for 2020 due to a drop in tourism earnings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The report encourages the Pacific nations to prepare the groundwork for a transition to an expanded digital economy by upskilling and reskilling workers.

A senior World Bank economist said, “The COVID-19 pandemic also crisis highlights the urgency for Pacific countries to expand IT-related infrastructure and increase their engagement in the digital economy. This would provide opportunities for workers in the digital economy and better position Pacific countries to export digital services across borders.”

But for now, some of the countries have sought to weather the storm by resorting to age-old practices, such as distributing seedlings and planting materials to farmers and homeowners in a drive to boost local food production.

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