Conference on Business Opportunity in the Islands Concludes Successfully
Washington, D.C. (April 15, 2009): The Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs concluded a successful three-day Conference on Business Opportunities in the Islands, which kicked off on April 6 at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu. Each of the freely associated states and the U.S. insular areas had government officials present, including the following heads of delegations: President Manny Mori of the Federated States of Micronesia, Governor Togiola Tulafono of American Samoa, Governor Felix Camacho of Guam, Minister of State Sandra Pierantozzi of Palau, Minister of Resources and Development Fredrick Muller of the Marshall Islands, Secretary of Commerce Michael Ada of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Virgin Islands' Economic Development Authority Percival Clouden.
On behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, the Honorable Ken Salazar, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, Nikolao Pula, welcomed conference attendees. "This is an important conference because it provides a forum to create win-win partnerships which will foster private sector development and ultimately increase employment in the islands," said Mr. Pula. "We appreciate not only your time but also the financial commitment you have undertaken to be here, considering the current economic condition."
The Conference on Business Opportunities in the Islands is designed to provide a forum for the insular areas and the freely associated states to showcase unique opportunities and incentives to do business in their respective jurisdictions. Representatives from the private sector are encouraged to look at these opportunities and to create partnerships that can lead to win-win business ventures and stimulate economic development in the islands.
The conference featured three primary series of sessions on tourism, infrastructure, and renewable energy. The preliminary keynote speakers for these topics were Richard Kelley, M.D., Chairman of Outrigger Enterprises; Lieutenant General Chip Gregson, former Commander of the Marine Forces in the Pacific; Stephen Schneider, Ph.D., a climatologist from Stanford University and joint recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The conference culminated with in depth one-on-one meetings between participants interested in creating partnerships.
The luncheons on the first and second days of the conference had special speakers. Lieutenant Governor Aiona of Hawaii keynoted the first luncheon, and Congresswoman Bordallo (D-GU) and Congressman Faleomavaega (D-AS) keynoted the second. All three speakers emphasized the need for developing renewable energy sources in the islands and praised the efforts through the conference to make this a reality.
In addition, twenty-two of the fifty States and eleven foreign countries were represented including Vanuatu, Nigeria, the Independent State of Samoa, the Philippines, New Zealand, Japan, the People's Republic of China, the Fiji Islands, Australia, the Republic of Korea, and Iceland. At least ten Federal agencies were present, and there were over 500 conference participants, with approximately 65% coming from the private sector.
To view Power Point presentations made at the conference and more pictures, please visit the Business Opportunities website (www.islandbusinessopportunities.com)
More information on the conference is available through the links provided below:
Northern Mariana Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
L-R: Mr. Clouden (USVI), Minister Muller (RMI),
Governor Camacho (GU), President Mori (FSM),
DAS Pula, Minister Pierantozzi (ROP),
& Secretary Ada (CNMI)
Dr. Schneider presenting on the importance
of renewable energy
Lt. Governor Aiona