This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix summarizes the factors explaining Vanuatu’s recent growth performance, which has weakened since the mid-1990s. The paper highlights that Vanuatu’s annual rate of growth averaged ¾ percent during 1997–2001, compared with 4¾ percent during 1992–1996. The paper compares Vanuatu’s external competitiveness with several other small island economies in the South Pacific region. The paper describes the development and structure of Vanuatu’s offshore financial center, examines its macroeconomic impact, and highlights some key recent developments. It also provides a preliminary assessment of the prospects for the sector.
Vanuatu has maintained macroeconomic stability, but real GDP growth slowed despite the receipt of considerable foreign assistance and the implementation of structural reforms under the Comprehensive Reform Program (CRP). A sharp increase in liquidity, a consequent bulge in consumption, and a rise in imports have affected Vanuatu's recent economic performance. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index for the main urban centers, has remained moderate in recent years. The paper also discusses prices and population, financial sector, and external sector developments of Vanuatu.
A variety of shocks have affected Vanuatu's recent economic performance. The government approved the Comprehensive Reform Program (CRP) developed with the support of the Asian Development Bank (AsDB). The IIIrd phase of the program is focused on entrenching and deepening the reforms already introduced, extending government reforms to embrace the parliament and the legal sector, and promoting economic growth. In addition, the government aims to strengthen the focus on social reforms, to ensure that the benefits of CRP are shared, and that reform is sustained.