Backing Fijian women in Covid-19 economic recovery
Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, today launched two partnerships backing Fijian women in business.
“Fiji's economy has been one of the hardest hit globally from the COVID-19 pandemic. Women have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn in Fiji, which is why I am proud to announce partnerships that support Fijian businesswomen,” Minster Seselja said.
“The two new partnerships align with Australia's priorities in Fiji to support the development of broad-based, private sector-led economic growth. The private sector will play an important role in Fiji's economic recovery from COVID-19 and is a vital source of employment and innovation.”
“One grant will help 400 women-led micro and small businesses in Fiji, including market stall holders, will have access to a tailored digital mobile phone payment system, and the relevant training and financial literacy skills to implement this technology for their business,” Minster Seselja said.
“The Australian Government is contributing $490,800 to the initiative, in partnership with an additional $500,000 from Mastercard, Fintech Pacific and ygap. This project will place control of women's income and assets in the hands of women, and the payment platform will help women to save and grow their operations.”
Through the second partnership launched by Minister Seselja today, the Government is contributing $500,000 to the $2.27 million initiative, partnering directly with a Fijian woman-owned business to support sustainable seaweed production for use in fertilisers across Fiji.
“By partnering with Sea and Soil, we are supporting locally-led initiatives that will create jobs, and enable the production of sustainable fertilisers to be sold in domestic and international markets,” Minister Seselja said.
Through the Business Partnerships Platform, the Australian Government is supporting business-led economic growth in our region.
Attributable comments from project partners:
Digital payments for Women-led SME's
Richard Wormald, Division President, Australasia at Mastercard:
“Collectively, we have the tools, technology and capabilities to think big and deliver. Mastercard is committed to financial inclusion and ensuring people around the world have access to financial services, delivering a digital economy that works for all. Together with our partners at the Australian Government, ygap and Fintech Pacific who share this vision, we're excited to show how we can harness technology to give people more control, better experiences, new opportunities and wider choices.”
Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Director of Strategy and Operations at ygap:
“This locally-led, holistic and innovative partnership champions better inclusion for women vendors who traditionally face more barriers in business. By addressing the issue at both a micro and macro level, from small businesses into the market, women are empowered to grow their income, increase their financial security, support their families and help their communities. Fiji will now be better equipped to recover from COVID-19's devastating economic impact.”
Sustainable Seaweed Production
Rohini Hamid CEO Sea & Soil:
“The Australian Government is an incredibly important cog in this partnership that essentially seeks to create a vibrant seaweed industry that will directly contribute and improve rural livelihoods in a very sustainable and measurable way.”
“Sea & Soil is delighted that it can be a part in this exciting journey where Fijian village communities involving hundreds of households can turn to earning to an alternative source of income through organic seaweed farming. With Australia's vital assistance we are bringing seaweed-based products to market like organic fertilisers, soil conditioners, sanitisers and more.”