The Autonomous Bougainville Government continues to make headway under its Independence Mission Strategy to practicalise the people’s 97.7 percent vote for Independence.
The Bougainville Independence Mission which was launched by President Hon. Ishmael Toroama in April 2021, marked the beginning of the implementation of a trident strategy to prepare Bougainville for independence.
Under this Trident Strategy, the first prong covered independence-ready preparations within Bougainville by Bougainvilleans, the second prong covered independence-ready preparations within Papua New Guinea and the third prong launched today, will focus on independence-ready preparations with the international community.
The International Prong was launched under the theme “Promoting Bougainville’s Global Trade & Investment”, and aims to establish support for Bougainville’s independence through enhanced trade and investment relations.
Speaking at the launch, ABG Vice President and Minister for Commerce, Trade and Economic Development Hon. Patrick Nisira explained that under the Bougainville Peace Agreement, it outlines ABG’s opportunities to bring forth this change in the global scene in concurrence with the national government’s foreign affairs department.
“There are provisions in the Bougainville Peace Agreement that provide for ABG to have observer status on various trade and investment platforms at the international frontier. These avenues must now be utilized to expose and integrate Autonomous Bougainville Government and its potential into the international prong,” he said.
“As we reach out to the international frontier our focus must be on growing the Bougainville economy and attaining fiscal self-reliance through international trade and sound investment and support for Bougainville as it integrates into the global community and building foreign relationships.”
Under the International Prong, a number of key tasks will be implemented to support its implementation. These include:
1. Set-up of a Bougainville Desk under the National Department of Foreign Affairs
2. Set-up of a Bougainville Desk at the National Trade Office
3. Collaboration with the PNG Overseas Missions
4. A Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate Trade and Economic Integration
5. Requesting for observer status on various forums like the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Melanesian Spearhead Group, EU Economic Partnership Agreement with PNG and APEC plus others.
Minister Nisira reiterated that Bougainvilleans must understand that Bougainville is part of a bigger global village and cannot exist on its own, however the Government through the international prong, will work towards building mutual relationships and trust through government-to-government relationships that will enhance trade and investment for Bougainville as an emerging island state in the Pacific.
Minister Nisira also appealed strongly to the people of Bougainville as the resource owners to work closely with the government.
“I appeal to the people of Bougainville especially the resource owners to work closely with my Ministry, Department and the Toroama-Nisira government to prepare ourselves to release the resources for development to have maximum benefits and equitable distribution of wealth with the investors, the state and the resource owners,” he said.
“Let me also inform Bougainvilleans that as we embark on the international prong through trade and investment, we must be responsible citizens. We must fix our law-and-order issues to provide a conducive environment for investment and trade to flourish,” Nisira added.
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