As governments in the region struggle with troubling debt burdens, Nik Soni reminds us that we have been here before and risk making the same mistakes of the past. History shows that the externally driven ideology of 'Trump-esque angry white men with the strategic foresight of a goldfish' will not work. The overly simplistic austerity mantra of more taxes, less spending and selling off state assets needs to be tempered with an open conversation about the problem, increasing revenue compliance, debt re-financing and drawing on the technical skills that exist within our region.
Many people have commented on the saga surrounding the Vanuatu airport and the termination of flights critical to the tourism industry and economy. There are sensible solutions available to address the immediate works, and the longer-term fix does not need to bankrupt the country.
As PNG turns forty, Nik Soni looks back to the future at an immensely wealthy country, gradually taking on a greater role on the world stage. Looking beyond simplistic assessments that all is hopeless, he suggests there is reason to have confidence the people of PNG will effect the change necessary to overcome existing challenges.
Nikunj Soni spots an opportunity for vulnerable nations to redefine their development – and themselves. At the most recent Pacific Round Table discussion, Timor-Leste reminds the older nations of the region exactly what the struggle for independence was about, and the opportunities that now lie ahead.