The Vuvale Partnership between Fiji and Australia contributes to resilience and inclusivity in economic recovery, and ensures that no one is left behind. This was evident at the Fiji-Australia and Australia-Fiji Business Councils joint forum held on Thursday (01/09/22) to enable discussions on collaborations to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic by advancing business, tourism, trade and investment opportunities. Speaking at the occasion, Permanent Secretary for Office of the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs, Mr Yogesh Karan, commended the Vuvale Partnership which signifies the exemplary partnership between Fiji and Australia, in addressing development challenges and being there for each other in times of prosperity as well as adversity. PS Karan thanked Australia for their tremendous support to Fiji during times of great need by contributing to Fiji’s resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, support in climate actions, oceans, defence and security, gender equality, women empowerment, health and education, amongst others. The Fijian Government’s initiatives to improve ease of doing business, encourage greater investments, including improvement and digitization of a number of business processes through the bizFiji Portal, was highlighted at the Forum. PS Karan said that given the current global challenges, it is clear that ‘business as usual’ must evolve and adapt, through accelerating digital transformation, flexibility, supply chain resilience and streamline outputs. He said new announcements will be made soon on major reforms on the Fijian Immigration regulations to encourage more investments in Fiji. In terms of regional cooperation, PS Karan said Fiji looks to Australia for support towards, “2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent” which is now our North Star and it’s the overarching blueprint to advance Pacific regionalism for the next three decades. He spoke on Fiji’s commitment to expand investment and growth of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in Fiji, whereby Australia provided funding to help set up the Fiji BPO Council in 2020, an emerging sector with high potential for businesses to engage. While extending his appreciation to the Forum organisers, he said, “Vuvale means family, and we can only work as Vuvale if we work together. Diplomacy and cooperation are our strongest pillars, and it is through forums such as the business councils that we can strengthen resilient and successful partnerships.” Signed in 2019, the Vuvale Partnership is based on 5 pillars which is to strengthen people-to-people links, enhance security cooperation, deepen economic relationship, build support on international and regional issues, and foster closer institutional linkages. He commended Australia’s remarkable contributions in major developments benefiting Fiji and the region; these includes development of Blackrock facility in Nadi; increased participation of Fijians in the Pacific Labour Scheme; opportunities for knowledge exchange and capacity building; commercial Kava Pilot program and more recently Australia and Fiji’s partnership to construct the new Maritime Essential Services Centre (MESC). Australia’s support to Fiji in revitalizing tourism sector, helping Fijians to get back to their jobs and support their families, was also acknowledged at the Forum. PS Karan outlined investments opportunities– most notably in connectivity, high value agriculture and fisheries, and energy security where Australia is a leading partner.