Author Archives: ngarban

Starting new Newspaper

It’s been almost a month since the end of the fellowship program we attended at the Asia Pacific Journalism Center in Melbourne.

All the fellows who participated in the five weeks (six for Indonesian colleagues) program are back at work and I suppose implementing what learned from the fellowship.

This may be a shock to some. But I haven’t been back to my place of work since being back in Port Vila, the Vanuatu capital where I am.

Instead, I’ve ventured into media business. A colleague and myself, both used to work for Capitol FM107 radio and the company’s weekly Vanuatu Times newspaper, have started our own newspaper.  (Tried to affix a pix of the front page of issue 1 on this space, but internet connection keeps being interrupted).

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“We need each other”

“This is the third time we are asked this…why is it so important that we have to be pestered about this, this so many times?….bloody hell!”

Good gracious, I could not believe I was for a moment, losing my cool, after four weeks of such a wonderful experience of learning and sharing.

“Control yourself”, I found myself saying to myself, “you are the most senior in the group and the other members of the group could be looking to you for leadership, direction, and even inspiration.”

The above was the most regrettable reaction at the lobby of the Ibis hotel in Sydney I would rather forget.

It was a reaction to the third or so time of being asked to read the ABC’s Work Ethics and Code of Conduct documents.

Walter Nalangu, Standing (l), me (standing 2nd from r) and Dorah (sitting l) with three of the 8 staff members of the Tok Pisin service of Radio Australia at their office.

One of the two kind and thoroughly helpful ladies who accompanied us on visits to Canberra and Sydney reminded those of us in the radio group who were down to do professional attachments with the ABC offices in Southbank, Melbourne to remember to read the two documents before the following week’s attachment with the ABC.

She was only doing her job of helping our “learning and sharing experiences” of course! Continue reading

Doing Business in Vanuatu

Doing Business In Vanuatu

Jonas Cullwick

Vanuatu is ranked number 60 on the World Bank ranking for ease of doing business in countries around the world in 2011, down one place from 59 last year.

But  according to the statistics from the World Bank businesses in Vanuatu find it harder to trade and export their products overseas compared to those in Fiji. The World Bank ranks Vanuatu at 142 on trading across borders while Fiji is ranked 103.

On how easy it is to start a business, the two countries are about the same with Fiji ranked 103 and  Vanuatu 4 points down at 107.

However, it is more than twice as easy to close a business in Vanuatu at 50 than in Fiji ranked 117. The reason for this Dionisia might be able to fill us in on.

Dealing with construction permits is also easier in Vanuatu ranked 21 to Fiji 58.

However, it is twice as easy to register a company in Fiji at rank number 50 to Vanuatu 108.

It is also twice as easy to get credit assistance in Fiji to Vanuatu, and investors are also better protected in Fiji than in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu, 19 is ranked just a few points better than Fiji, 22 on paying taxes, but Fiji’s ranking of 63 on enforcing contracts is better than Vanuatu’s on 76.

Low internet social networking particpation from Vanuatu

Compared to other South Pacific island countries, Vanuatu has one of the lowest number of people who use social networking tools such as Blogs, Facebook, My Space, YouTube and Twitter.

by Asthma Helper

The result of a survey on the number of Facebook users in the region in 2010 was released to participants of the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre AusAID ALA Fellowship on Reporting the Economic Life of the Communities by Alex Wake, Journalism Lecturer at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

From the survey Vanuatu has a total of 4,940 people on Facebook.

This is the same for Tonga whose population is one-third of that for Vanuatu.

In comparison, nearby New Caledonia with the same population as Vanuatu has 54,220 Facebook users.

For other countries:

  • Fiji – 83,040
  • PNG – 21,220
  • Australia – 8-million plus.

There are a number of factors for the comparatively low number of Facebook users in Vanuatu.

One of these is that generally, Ni-Vanuatu are not easily keen on sharing their thoughts and views in such a public arena.

But most importantly though, it is the issue of lack of access to computers and communications capacity, which is the main hindrance in this case, I believe.

Now, you will find that students studying overseas such in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, and further abroad are those that make up the bulk of the four thousand Ni-Vanuatu and other people in the country now on Facebook.

This issue is a classic example of the important need for the Government, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, Telecom Vanuatu Limited and Digicel to address this issue.

What do you think can and should be done to increase the number of Ni-Vanuatu having access to the internet and the social networking sites?