Kumar: Fiji most urbanised Melanesian state

The Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar. Picture: FT FILE/JOVESA NAISUA

FIJI is the most urbanised State in Melanesia where 55 per cent of its population is urban, says Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar.

While speaking at the opening of the 5th Pacific Urban Forum in Nadi yesterday, she said it was estimated that two in three Fijians would be living in urban centres by 2030.

“Already, Fiji’s urban sector accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s GDP,” she said.

“Fiji’s National Development Plan (NDP) has the vision for ‘transforming Fiji’.

“It maps out the way forward for Fiji and for Fijians to realise its full potential as a nation.

“The Fijian Government is committed to address urbanisation concerns through integrated planning, strengthening urban governance, balancing rural urban developments and scrapping rural local authorities.”

She said adopting a multi-sectorial planning and implementation at all levels was important to manage rapid urban growth.

“In Fiji, we know that without long-term urban master plans, we will continue to have a piecemeal approach, an approach that does not match our national development goals and the dreams of our people.

“Just like New Zealand, we have recently been inspired by our good friends from the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise.

“They are our partners in creating the urban master plans for Fiji, to guide the urban transformation.”

She added every nation in the Pacific needed to have its national and local government urban infrastructure well planned out.

“Our citizens need to be assured that development will be sustainable and to be sustainable, development needs to be strategic and well planned.”

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