On August 25, 2022, the Financial Centre Association of Vanuatu (FCA) hosted a cocktail evening with government officials including representatives from the VFSC, the RBV, the Labour Office and the Immigration Office, in a relaxed atmosphere to exchange views on sustainable development and other opportunities for Vanuatu

Headlining the event were Vanuatu’s Commonwealth beach volleyball bronze medalist Miller and Tini, who came to meet and greet everyone. Pictures of the evening were widely shared on social media, attesting to the success of the event!

Opening speech by FCA Chairman Martin St-Hilaire

“Hello everyone,

My name is Martin St-Hilaire, I am the chairman of the Financial Centre Association of Vanuatu. I am very pleased to see you all tonight.

The mood has been somber in Vanuatu this week, following the passing of one of our nation’s founding fathers, Sela Molisa. Mr. Molisa will be remembered not only by our members as a constructive steward when he was minister of finance, but by everyone in Vanuatu as a remarkable leader – a man of conviction, a courageous man. The country is better today because of men like Sela Molisa.

Let me give you a bit of background about our association.

Did you know that our International Financial Centre turned 50 this year? It has been instrumental in helping Vanuatu grow ever since, from its early years as a young independent nation, to its future as a Pacific hub for financial technology, or fintech. At least that’s our hope!

Our association, the FCA, was founded in 1993. Our members are bankers, insurers, accountants, brokers, and other professional services providers such as lawyers, business advisors, and real estate agents. Together, we employ about 1000 people, mostly in Port Vila. These are not regular jobs: they’re part of the knowledge economy, which is key for the future prosperity of Vanuatu.

Our country is famous for its wonderful landscapes and its hospitality, and our tourism industry must continue to thrive and grow. However, we also need to diversify our economy. And those knowledge jobs are key to succeed.

Vanuatu doesn’t have much natural resources; we are not in any strategic location for trade; and we are regularly battered by cyclones and earthquakes.

But our country has been blessed with three things:

  • First, the Internet: we now have the world at our fingertips.
  • Second, our democracy, which creates stability and smart regulations.
  • Third, our talent: the young generation of Ni-Vanuatu is more educated and connected than ever.

In the knowledge economy, we can compete globally. For example, today we have online brokers in Vanuatu who serve foreign currency traders all across the world. Tomorrow, we can have software developers, educators, marketers, researchers… Any profession that only requires connectivity and thinking.

Vanuatu never had so many opportunities. And our association wants to help local businesses seize these opportunities.

FCA Vanuatu will continue to work together with the government, including our legislators and regulators, to foster economic diversification and job creation. High-quality, world-class jobs for young Ni-Vanuatu.

Our members will continue to commit to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and diligence to make our vision a reality.

Speaking of values to strive for, we are all extremely proud of our national beach volleyball women’s team. They’ve spent the summer in Europe representing our colours with strength, bravery, and big smiles all along the way. They’re showing the whole world that Vanuatu can play ball – in sports just like in business.”