Road Map for Economic Development Updated

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Department of Commerce and the Territorial Planning Commission is undertaking the first major revision of American Samoa’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) in more than a decade.

This strategy is required by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (USEDA) to qualify American Samoa for economic development grants and technical assistance.

Over the last 40 years the US Economic Development Administration has helped finance key economic development projects in American Samoa including the Fagatogo Marketplace, the renovation of Lee Auditorium, the Industrial Park, Port facilities, and basic infrastructure (water, sewer and road projects).

This planning process provides an opportunity for American Samoa’s public and private sector to take a fresh look at how economic development can be encouraged in the territory and to provide the rationale for federal financial support for major projects that can help create jobs.

Research will be conducted on local economic conditions and trends. It will include interviews with a wide range of leaders in the private and public sectors to gather insights into the problems and opportunities that must be addressed. It will also consider goals and objectives, specific projects and programs and performance measures to track progress.

A draft of the CEDS will be submitted to the Territorial Planning Commission later this year before being finalized and submitted to the USEDA, which is funding the $60,000 planning effort.

Malcolm McPhee and Lewis Wolman were selected for this work following a competitive bid process. They also authored the prescient 2007 report on American Samoa’s economic future and the cannery industry which permitted American Samoa to get a head start on recovery from the cannery closure in 2009.

McPhee is a professional economist with extensive Pacific Island experience. Lewis Wolman, a former executive at Samoa News and Blue Sky Communications, has served as past president of the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce and is now the Chamber’s vice-chairman.

(Appeared in Samoa News, original article no longer available online.)