Members of the business community were part of the Sol2023 Pacific Games Organizing Committee’s (GOC) series of events over the weekend to mark one year to go before the opening ceremony of the 17th Pacific Games here in Honiara on 19 November 2023.
This was during a Business After 5 networking with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) on Friday 18th November where the GOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Peter Stewart delivered a presentation on their preparation one year out, the progress made and opportunities for partnerships with businesses.
And the 2023 Pacific Games Mascot, Solo, also graced the event with his presence.
Like any other major event around the world, the 2023 Pacific Games is expected to leave behind long term benefits for local businesses in the Solomon Islands as part of the legacy benefits of hosting the biggest sporting event in the Pacific region.
Some of the long-term benefits includes the capacity building of the local workforce, capacity building of local businesses, infrastructure improvements, promotion of Solomon Islands for business opportunities, promotion of local businesses, business to business facilitation, streamlining government processes and attraction of hosting future events.
GOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Stewart stressed that the Games has a unique ability to build the capacity of the workforce within the country.
“Thousands of people will be involved in the delivery of these Games and through that process they will get training, get experience, opportunity to grow within their careers and we know from experience from other Games that the capacity of the workforce greatly improves by their involvement in these sorts of events,” he said.
Infrastructure improvement which are of great benefit to business is always a legacy for the Pacific Games.
For Solomon Islands, as a result of hosting the Games it would lead to improvement of roads, improvement to the country’s international airport, improvement to various venues which will all provide an opportunity for businesses to be able to prosper into the future.
The GOC CEO maintained that they will continue to work with SICCI to ensure that local businesses are talking to each other and working together to be able to provide the services that we need during the Games process.
“Because of the very huge involvement of Government, you tend to find that this helps to streamline Government processes and give a level of understanding to Government ministries about how they can support major projects of this nature and that therefore obviously provides a benefit to businesses in the long term as well,” he said.
SICCI CEO, Ms Natalina Hong acknowledges the Games Organizing Committee for their ongoing engagement with the Chamber and its members of the business community.
She said business participation before and after the Games has many opportunities for the benefit of the country’s local economy.
A significant benefit for Solomon Islands is the long-term investment which comes from preparing for such a major event like the Pacific Games.
The most notable infrastructure development project the Solomon Islands Government in collaboration with the Japanese Government are undertaking is the Kukum Highway Upgrade Project, which is also part of preparing Honiara City for 2023.
Ms Hong acknowledges the national commitment towards the infrastructure development which will also be beneficial for businesses and investment along with other development partners who have also significantly supported the country in its preparation for Sol2023.
“The current Kukum Highway Upgrade Project and the recent commitments from JICA to upgrade our international airport will improve efficiency in mobility and drastically give a much-needed facelift to our capital city,” she said.
The SICCI CEO said development in key fundamental areas like communication, energy and transportation will redirect our economy to improve the investment climate so businesses can grow to benefit the community.
When Solomon Islands successfully delivers the 2023 Pacific Games, as a country it will be able to showcase a range of venues it has which have the capacity to attract future major events and in turn be able to provide economic development to Solomon Islands and the businesses associated in country.