Board directors and senior executives have signed up for the first training workshops of the newly formed Pacific Corporate Governance Institute (PCGI) with the aim of promoting good governance practices in the business sector in the region.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, with the support of Australia, set up the institute last November, with the endorsement of the Reserve Bank of Fiji and working with the South Pacific Stock Exchange.
It’s now operating as an independent non-profit organization, with a clear mandate to promote principles of good corporate governance to companies in Fiji and operate as a center of excellence for corporate governance in the broader Pacific region.
“We’ve seen a clear appetite from private sector businesses as well as state owned institutions to raise the bar and foster growth by learning more about corporate governance,” said IFC’s Resident Representative for Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Kiribati, Deva De Silva. “In the small markets in the Pacific region, family owned businesses are a common phenomenon. Some of these businesses have now developed into reasonably large diversified companies, making the case for stronger corporate governance practices to be an integral part of their operations.”
The two-day training workshop, which began today in Suva, was over-subscribed. It attracted board directors and senior executives from medium and large-sized companies across different industries.
The workshops are designed to help companies develop a practical approach for implementing sound corporate governance practices, with a focus on setting up effective boards of directors, as well as establishing effective management controls.
“Good corporate governance can help companies improve performance, increase access to finance and foster sustained growth,” De Silva said. “This will help Fijian companies better manage risks and improve profitability.”
As part of its work, the PCGI will also hold sessions to “train trainers” with the idea of building long term sustainability and increasing capacity in local Fijian trainers to potentially deliver some future corporate governance workshops in Fiji.
And to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the institute will also hold a session on board gender diversity, after a special Ring the Bell event, sponsored by the South Pacific Stock Exchange.
IFC’s Corporate Governance Program in the Pacific is implemented in partnership with the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The program aims to help Pacific companies adopt effective governance standards and practices by raising market awareness, building the capacity of regulators and local partners, and providing firm-level advisory services.