Economic Growth, Regional Cooperation & Integration for Sustainable Pacific Economies

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Due to their smallness, remoteness and lack of diverse production systems, the PICs are heavily dependent on tourism and trade with a relatively narrow base of mainly agriculture and natural resource exploitation. A major initiative of this Strategic Plan is to develop a Centre for Economic Policy and Modelling to coordinate research and capacity building in the key areas of economic modelling, fiscal management and regional integration. This will enable USP to play a crucial role in developing critical areas such as sustainable tourism, regional economic integration and trade and labour mobility policies in the region. This SRT deals with the following broad theme pertaining to PICS: Economic Growth; Trade; Regional Integration; Barriers to Integration; and Politics of Integration.

 

Antecedents of Food Consumption & Fod Security: Issues and Strategies for Agriculture in the South Pacific Region

Cluster Sub-theme: Antecedents of Food Consumption & Food SecurityProject Team Leader: Dr Rafia Naz

Team Members: Dr Gurmeet Singh, Dr Jashwini Narayan, Dr Neelesh Gounder, Dr Sunil Kumar, Dr Jimaima Lako, Karishma Devi

Funding: $43, 367

Duration of Project: Jan 2015 – Jan 2017 (2 years)

Overview of Project:

The significance of this study is as follows:

Prior research studies have categorized the global food consumption patterns into two categories namely; convergence (homogenization) and divergence (heterogenization) (Merz et al., 2008). For instance, the research studies of Holt et al. (2004), Jain (1989), and Robertson (1992) support the debate that food consumption patterns have integrated globally, and customer needs and wants have experienced uniformity, therefore, homogenization of global demand. However, there are also research studies arguing that local consumption cultures are resistant to globalization of food cultures and consumption patterns (Jackson, 2004; Williams, 2003; Williams and Windebank, 2003). Therefore, although there is unanimity that global food consumption worldwide is homogenizing, it remains uncertain whether cosmopolitan (socio-cultural) antecedents contribute to this phenomenon in selected smaller Pacific economies such as: Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu. This study pursues to survey consumers from the aforementioned countries to critically analyze the consumption patterns.  In addition, food consumption is impinged by food security issues in the Pacific region, for instance; Hughes and Lawrence (2005) mention that Pacific cultures are believed to be world’s oldest cultures with food consumption, however, after the European contact there is been transition in dietary patterns of Pacific Islanders. The author argues that due to international trades, the Pacific economies have become a “dumping” place for imported food items via large economies such as USA, Australia and New Zealand. This has therefore contributed towards declining food safety. This study thus also delves into investigating the food security issues in agricultural products, using consumer culture theory (CCT) and Engel-Blackwell model as a crucial conjecture.

Improving Project Management capabilities in the Pacific

Cluster Sub-theme: Improving Project Management

Team Members: Prof. Biman,
Dr Gurmeet,
R.D Pathak
Ofer Zwikael

Funding: $61,781.00

Duration: 3 years: March 2014 – December 2016

Overview of Project:

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Project Management

The significance of this study is in three folds: – Firstly, this study will be very important to the scientific and business communities via publishing the results of this project; – Secondly, the results of this research will be used for teaching purposes at the universities in Australia, Fiji and other Pacific Universities – In addition, recommendation will be sent to all organizations involved in this study with a list of unique critical success processes to focus on and a roadmap for better success – The study will contribute to the understanding of project management at the addition and regional levels. This would add to the progress towards better regional integration and regional cooperation.

 

Urbanisation and Economic Growth in Small Island States: An Empirical Study of Eight Nations of the Southern Pacific

Cluster Sub-theme: Economic Growth

Team Members: Rup Singh, Niraj Swami

Funding: $39,788

Duration of Project: 12 months from December 2012

Overview of Project:

Pacific Islanders

Pacific Islanders

The first part of this project will include the collection of the relevant data for all the countries and this will be done through both desk study and possible through field visits. The second part will involve the analysis of the data using the models specified in the methodology section of the proposal. The preliminary results of the study will be presented at the November workshop which involved few countries and the full report and papers will be produced when all the countries are analysed.

Completed Projects

Development of exchange rate forecasting models for Fiji and the Pacific Island Countries (PICs)

Cluster Sub-theme: Development of Exchange rate

Project Team Leader: Dr MGM Khan

Team Members: Dr Shamsuddin Ahmed, 1 Research Assistant (RA) tbc

Funding: FJD41, 620

Duration of Project: 27 months from 15 November 2011 to 15 February 2014

Overview of Project:

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Currency Exchange

The research team expects to develop currency exchange rate neutral network (NN) forecast models for the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) against all majoring trading currencies.  In particular Fiji dollars’ exchange rate forecast models shall be developed.  This project proposes to investigate those factors that trigger fluctuation in exchange rate. Intended research outcomes are: models for exchange rate forecast, software for exchange rate predictions, journal article and contribution to referred conference proceeding in addition to software for exchange rate forecasting analysis in PICs

Towards Regional Integration 2.0: Facilitating Regional Integration and Development with Collaborative Technologies

Cluster Sub-theme: Regional Integration

Project Team Leaders: Dr Acklesh Prasad and Prof. Biman Prasad

Team Members: Glen Finau, Jale Samuwai

Funding: FJD20, 310

Duration of Project: 12 months from December 2011

Overview of Project:

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The aim of this research is to suggest a framework for regional integration 2.0 for the Pacific to facilitate growth and development. This framework would adopt the web 2.0 tools as the communication and collaboration foundation, on which regional countries would develop and sustain their socioeconomic development initiatives and foster closer regional cooperation.

Role of Energy in Regional Economic Growth and Integration

Cluster Sub-theme: Economic Growth

Project Team Leader: Dr Anirudh Singh

Team Members: Dr Sunil Kumar, Solomone Fifita, Dr Gyaneshwar Rao, Prof. David Harrison, Prof Sunday Iyare, Prof. Leo Moseley, 2 Masters students to be appointed as Research Assistants (RAs)

Funding: FJD47,500

Duration of Project: 12 months from January 2012

Overview of Project:

RTEmagicC_economic_growth003.jpgIn the first part of this project, a study will be carried out of existing energy policies such as The Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific, (FAESP) in the Pacific region to see what possible role they can play in the economic growth and integration of the region. In the second part, an energy consumption and energy efficiency study will be carried out of Fijian hotels with a view to making recommendations to the tourism sector for improvements in energy use and carbon emissions. These results will be compared to those obtained earlier for Caribbean hotels. A workshop will be held in Suva to consider the expected impact of the new regional energy policy (FAESP) on the transportation, production and service sectors of the PIC economies. A workshop held in Barbados will compare the hotel energy study carried out in Fiji to the earlier similar work done on Caribbean hotels. It will also compare the national and regional energy policies of the Caribbean to FAESP, and consider what impact the former have had on the Caribbean economies. The results of this work will be recorded as workshop proceedings in CD format and published in at least two journal papers. An end-of-project workshop will be held at the end of the year to present the results and findings of the project.

Trade Creation, Regional Growth and Development: The Role of Regional Trade Agreement in the South Pacific Islands

Cluster Sub-theme: Trade

Project Team Leader: Dr Dibyendu Maiti

Team Members: Dr Sunil Kumar, Dr Gyaneshwar Rao, Rup Singh, Hong Chen, Ronald Kumar, 1 Research Assistant (RA)

Funding: FJD41, 472

Duration of Project: 12 months from January 2012

Overview of Project:

RTEmagicC_economic_growth004.jpgThe role of trade to accelerating growth of a country is almost accepted by all schools of trade economics. But, what are the trade barriers, where are routes of those barriers, what institutional mechanisms are placed to settle the disputes between the countries with the region, did the trade reduce the level of poverty and raise employment – are growing and empirical concerns for policy makers and academicians all over the world. Given this backdrop, the proposal sets the following objectives of the study into four broad areas of concerns (Commodity trades, trade in services, trade in technology and trade-poverty). The objectives are:

    1. To examine the pattern and growth of trade flows of goods and services between regions due to formation of trade blocs and its implication on their economic growth;
    2. To analyse the extent of trade barriers in goods and services, both visible and invisible trade barriers and their implication on the relative performance of growth of individual countries;
    3. To estimate of relative efficiencies of the countries across broad sectors and the impact of trade on the efficiency levels;
    4. To examine the extent of technology transfer (in the form of technology licensing, patenting and direct investment) and their spill-over effects in the regional economies;
    5. To analyse the role of connectivity and infrastructure on the trade in goods, services and technology and the extent of problem originating from rules of origin; and
    6. To examine the impact of trade on the employment pattern and poverty in the region.

Outputs

Conference Presentations

Project Title: Towards Regional Integration 2.0: Facilitating Regional Integration and Development with Collaborative Technologies

A Paper based on the research was accepted for presentation by the Australian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS). (The Conference is an “A” ranked conference in the ERA 2010 conference list, refer to www.arc.gov.au/xls/era2010_conference_list.xls). The paper was presented by Dr. Acklesh Prasad at Deakin University in December 2012 at his own expense. A copy of this conference proceeding was forwarded on request to the research office for their record.
On Facilitating Regional Integration and Economic Development with Collaborative Technologies in the South Pacific

Project Title:Role of Energy in Regional Economic Growth and Integration

  • Krishneel Prasad, Anirudh Singh, David Harrison and Biman Prasad, An energy consumption and conservation study of Pacific Island hotels, 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress, 8-12 July 2013, University of the South Pacific, Laucala Bay Campus, Suva, Fiji (Extended Abstract) (not in the repository but copy of the conf paper is on the 12th Pacific Inter-Congress book)
  • Richard Lal, Sunil Kumar, Anirudh Singh, Biman Chand Prasad, Survey of Energy Policies in Pacific Island Countries (PICs) & a case study of the Koro Island Biofuel Project in Fiji, 12th Pacific Science Inter-Congress, 8-12 July 2013, University of the South Pacific, Laucala Bay Campus, Suva, Fiji (Extended Abstract) (not in the repository but copy of the conf paper is on the 12th Pacific Inter-Congress book)

Project Title: Development of exchange rate forecasting models for Fiji and the Pacific Island Countries (PICs)

Paper presented at the International Conference on Pure and Applied Mathematics during November 26-28,  2013 at the PNG University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea.

Books

Project Title:Role of Energy in Regional Economic Growth and Integration

  • Krishneel Prasad and Anirudh Singh, Energy consumption & efficiency in Pacific hotels using models based on energy performance indicators, Managing Climate Chane in the Asia-Pacific region (book chapter) – accepted July 2014 2. Krishneel Prasad (not in the repository.”. but Proj leader have sent the front matter of the book)

Book Chapters

Project Title: Trade Creation, Regional Growth and Development: The Role of Regional Trade Agreement in the South Pacific Islands

(1) Maiti, D. and Kumar, S. (2015), ‘Pacific Integration with Asia’, in Chakraborty, D. and Mukherjee, J. (ed.), Trade, Investment and Economic Development: Empirical Methods and Policy Issues, Routledge (forthcoming)

Workshops

Project Title:Role of Energy in Regional Economic Growth and Integration

  • A Workshop was held in Suva to consider the expected imapct of the new regional energy policy (FAESP) on the transportation, production and services sectors of the PIC economies
  • Workshop held in Barbados to compare the hotel energy study carried out in Fiji to the earlier similar work done on Caribbean hotels and to also compare the national and regional energy policies of the Caribbean to FAESP, and consider what impact the former have had on the Carribean economies
  • A workshop was held at the end of the year to present the results and findings of the project

Journal Articles

Project Title: Development of exchange rate forecasting models for Fiji and the Pacific Island Countries (PICs)

1.) Khan, M.G.M.; Ahmed, Shamsuddin and Prasad, Biman (2015) “Forecasting Exchange Rate of Kina against AUD Using Artificial Neural Network and Time Series Models” International Journal of Business Forecasting and Marketing Intelligence. (Accepted). Rank C  (not in the repository)

2.) Ahmed, Shamsuddin and Khan, Mohammed G.M. and Prasad, Biman C. and Prasad, Avlin (2013) Forecasting Tala-AUD and Tala – USD exchange rates with ANN. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 78 . pp. 276-284. ISSN 2010-376X   Rank B

http://repository.usp.ac.fj/6125/

3..) Ahmed, Shamsuddin and Khan, Mohammed G.M. and Prasad, Biman C. and Prasad, Avlin (2013) Forecasting Tala-AUD using time series and artificial neural network model. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET), 77 . pp. 144-151. ISSN 2070-3740

http://repository.usp.ac.fj/6038/     Rank B

Project Title: Trade Creation, Regional Growth and Development: The Role of Regional Trade Agreement in the South Pacific Islands

(1) Prakash, K. and Maiti, D. (2015), ‘Devaluation, trade balances and the J-curve phenomenon: The case of Fiji’, Economic Modelling (revised and resubmit)

(2) Maiti, D. and Kumar, S. (2015), ‘Regional Agreements, Trade Costs and Flows in the Pacific Island Economics, Economica Politica (forthcoming)

(3) Maiti, D. and Marjit, S. (2015), “Regional Openness, Income Growth and Convergence of Indian States during 1980 -2009” (with S. Marjit), South Asian Economic Journal, 16(1) 145–166

(4) Maiti, D.; Narayan, D.; Kumar, S. (2015), “Regulation, Costs and Informality: The Case of Fiji”, Journal of Pacific Studies (revised and resubmit)

Technical Reports

Thesis

Project Title: Trade Creation, Regional Growth and Development: The Role of Regional Trade Agreement in the South Pacific Islands

•  Anjana Singh, ‘Demand for Food and Food Security in Fiji’,University of the South Pacific (awarded, 2015)
•  Kushneel Prakash, ‘Devaluation, Trade Deficit and Growth in Fiji’,University of the South Pacific (awarded, 2015)
• Khushbu Rai, “Regional Labor Mobility, Heterogeneity and Exportability of Small Developing Islands – A Comparative Study of Selected Countries in the Caribbean and the Pacific” (in progress)