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‘Aid is not some strange belief,’ P.M. says

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Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has set the record straight.

He wants people to understand that millions in aid being pumped into the Samoan economy from donor countries and partners is not because they feel sorry for Samoa.

“Small countries will always get the limelight in terms of assistance from developed countries because that’s their commitment,” Tuilaepa told the Samoa Observer.

“The question is; why do they do that?

“They do it because it is their overall belief that if they can raise economic growth in smaller countries, these countries will have enough money so in the future, they will turn around and buy goods from the bigger countries.”

As such, the Prime Minister said aid is a way for bigger countries to invest in themselves. “It’s a case of self-interest,” he said.

“So aid is not some strange type of Christian belief to love, it’s not that. It’s their own selfish motives for the future.

“They are investing in their own future.” The Prime Minister rejected the notion that Samoa has become too reliant on foreign aid and assistance from overseas. Instead, he assured that the economy is in good shape and that there is nothing to be alarmed about.

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“Our estimated Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P) this year is 1.6 billion,” he said.

“So we are in good shape. It’s why when we are told that there’s an additional 50 million, we say that the economy has grown. But when it drops by say two per cent, then it’s about 1.5 billion.”

The Prime Minister said there is much to look forward to.

Among the upcoming events is the United Nations Small Island Development States (S.I.D.S) meeting to be hosted by Samoa. The meeting will be the biggest international event to have been hosted by a small country; promising more than 3,000 participants who are expected to inject millions into the economy.

“This year for the first time, the United Nations has said yes to the cry of small states for a special case status,” he said.

“This is after sixty years of trying. “So that’s why they’ve declared a year for S.I.D.S.

“The question is why is that important?”

Tuilaepa said the significance is that the governments of developed countries have stepped up their commitment to support small island states in their struggles against many issues – including the fight against climate change.

Last month, the Prime Minister was in New York for the launch of the International Year for S.I.D.S. Speaking in New York, Tuilaepa said the last thing Samoa needs right now is another natural disaster.

“When you come to Samoa, we will show you the new communities of people who were shifted up from the low-lying coastal areas to the new settlement further inland,” he said.

“And that involved quite a lot of capital cost on the government for roads construction, electricity and other services.

“One of our greatest fears this year is that we do not have a repetition before the S.I.D.S conference, because if another one were to hit us, it would involve quite a lot of money to reconstruct, rehabilitate.”

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