UNDP and ANZ partnership on inclusive growth

September 23, 2022

The Group Executive and CEO NZ, Ms Antonia Watson 
General Manager Public, Consumer New Zealand, Mr Peter Parussini
Regional CEO Pacific, Ms Sarah Stubbings
Head of Corporate Sustainability, Financial Inclusion and Communication Asia/Pacific, Ms Vosawale Tamani  
Esteemed guests 
Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this important partnership meeting between the UN Development Programme and the ANZ Bank. This is an opportunity to recognize the partnership and highlight ANZ’s contributions over the last four years of collaboration.

This is also an opportunity for us to look ahead and determine what it will take to build a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive partnership to ensure no one is left behind.

UNDP in the Pacific is acutely aware of the deep sitted gender issues in the Pacific such as the men outnumbering women in paid employment (outside the agricultural sector) by approximately two to one, and men earn 20 to 50 percent more than women. We are strongly committed to supporting women and girls to access opportunities and resources to reach their full potential. It is within his framework that we recently developed and launched a new Gender Equality Strategy, 2022–2025. The new Strategy comes at the right time because of the enormous challenges that world faces.

The UNDP Pacific Office through its Gender Strategy 2022-2026 highlights the importance of gender equality as a matter of human rights, a driver of development progress. It also strongly emphasizes and promotes gender equality as smart economics, and it is the right thing to do.

The UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji remains committed to being at the forefront of efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in our Pacific programming, and ANZ plays a critical role through its current partnership, particularly to catalyze additional public and private investment to gender equality.

Today is an appropriate occasion to celebrate UNDP and ANZ partnership, which started in 2020 with the signed a Memorandum of Understanding  officially, with an extension in 2021 and earlier this year, covering five countries - Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. This was a significant accomplishment because it paved the way for financial literacy trainings to reach the unreached.

This partnership has ensured financial literacy and basic business skills training sessions through a money-minded program and provision of computer equipment and other necessities for people in particularly the youth, women, and vulnerable groups in the targeted countries.

Allow me to highlight a few areas where UNDP Pacific has benefited from this partnership in advancing the SDGs.
In Fiji, under the Markets for Change Project, ANZ Bank Money Minded trainings has been offered in all 14 provinces of Fiji. This year alone, 368 market vendors have been trained, and 300 more will be trained over the next two months across Fiji's remaining provinces. In Rotuma, 230 community members were trained under the REACH Project.

In Vanuatu, over 200 people have been trained with the money-minded modules in the last two years. Financial literacy has helped vendors understand the value of saving, and some have gone so far as to register with financial institutions.

In Munda in the western province of Solomon Islands, 33 market vendors attended a financial literacy training focused on future planning, making money last until next payday, needs and wants, budgeting and assertiveness. Twenty-nine of the participants were women.

I am pleased to say that ANZ has reached out to over 2,000 rural women market vendors and farmers in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Tonga over the past four years, calling for a celebration today as a trusted partner to support UNDP Pacific in tackling some of the most difficult challenges to reduce poverty, ensure gender equality and strengthen partnership.

For us in UNDP, economic empowerment is a  an integral part of our strategy for larger gender equality as it will empower women to exercise their voice and influence, and even allow them to counter gender based violence which is prevalent in the Pacific at large.

In closing, UNDP is honored to have partnered with ANZ in some of its most memorable successes and we hope that this collaboration will continue to contribute to achieving prosperity for all by 2030.

Thank you and vinaka vakalevu. Once again welcome to UNDP Pacific Office in Fijii.