Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama’s Dinner Speech at South-South Forum in Hong Kong

Bula vinaka and a very good evening to you all.

After the wonderful hospitality shown to the participants of this Forum, I would like to thank our hosts for all they have done to make us feel at home.

Allow me to extend a special word of thanks to the Honorable Mr. CY Leung, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, for his strong support of this Forum. The Chief Executive is a leader in efforts to advance the ICT agenda in the Asia-Pacific Region and we all look forward to future collaboration with him.

To the organisers, we extend our thanks for their time, effort and detailed preparations.

And finally, to the participants: your productive contributions during today’s discussions have added depth and insight that has benefited us all. Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

This High-level Forum has certainly achieved its objective of showcasing ways that technology can improve the lives of our peoples. And it’s been an opportunity for us to forge new relationships – with other Governments, and with members of the private sector.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We must resist the tendency to see the developed world as the source of all innovation and ideas. This is not the case. As nations of the South, there is much we can offer each other, in the true spirit of solidarity, self-reliance and interdependence.

There is a huge amount of innovation taking place in the developing world, especially in the ICT sector. Each country here has unique insights and valuable experience to share. In this context, South-South cooperation becomes an avenue through which we can spread technological progress amongst ourselves, and work to empower our peoples.

South-South cooperation cannot be an abstract concept or an empty slogan; it must be a means for reaching all of our peoples; and for us as nations to share information on new technology.

On behalf of the Fijian Government and people, I pledge Fiji’s full support for this great effort to share wisdom and experience.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must also acknowledge the importance of partnership with the private sector, to learn from its expertise and best practices. We should resist the urge to limit our relationships to traditional partners. Rather, we should actively seek new, dynamic and productive opportunities and forge new alliances and partnerships, wherever they may present themselves.

In Fiji, technology is one of the cornerstones of my Government’s reform agenda. We believe that strategic partnership with the private sector, across a broad front, is the best way to deliver quality, value, and transparency to our people.

Today’s Forum has been an illuminating experience. Looking ahead, the Chairman’s summary, which will be submitted during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in September of this year, will ensure that our outcomes will serve as the foundation for future discussions that will promote success, stimulate growth and create wealth and prosperity for our nations and our peoples.

I wish you all an enjoyable evening and a safe return trip home.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.