Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee Meeting 13 October 2017 and other News


Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) will hold a second meeting to discuss the establishment of a Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC) on Friday 13 October 2017. Any businesses are invited to attend the meeting at VCCI.

The overall purpose of this meeting is to look at prospective options to enable in-depth engagement of private sector, along with NGOs and Government stakeholders with regards to the impact of climate change, with a particular focus on natural disasters events including current critical threats, including the disaster situation on Ambae, Ambrym, Gaua, Vanua Lava, Lopevi and Tanna. The meeting’s proposed agenda includes the Election of Executive Committee members, Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary; the Review of draft VBRC Terms of Reference; and how VBRC can participate in the current disaster situation.

Meeting Date:  Friday 13 October 2017 

Time:  3pm              

Venue:  VCCI Conference Room

Please confirm your attendance by calling VCCI Reception by phone on 27 543, mobile phone 712 3967 or by email to [email protected]


Aid supplies – made in Vanuatu?

With the Ambae island volcano evacuation currently underway and memories of TC Pam still clear in our minds, we consider how innovation in manufacturing and procurement could help Vanuatu.

When Vanuatu suffers a disaster, we see two main financial effects on our business sector. First, a great deal of money leaves the country because government, companies and people import goods to make repairs. Second, large quantities of products are imported by disaster relief organisations.

With little cash and lots of goods being imported, businesses in Vanuatu can find it very hard to get back on their feet and to compete. Manufacturers are particularly badly hit. Too many businesses fail. The effects of the disaster are prolonged, causing hardship and even noticeable impacts on our GDP and future business prospects.

What if we could turn a crisis into an opportunity?

What if the products that people need to rebuild and that disaster relief organisations normally bring in could be manufactured and sold locally?

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) is very interested in this area. It is in the process of forming the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC). It has engaged with the National Disaster Management Organisation and the Australian Red Cross on a ‘Local Supplier Engagement’ initiative. Last week, VCCI met an organisation that is looking to take things a step further.

Field Ready

Field Ready is a humanitarian aid organisation that works on the local manufacturing of disaster relief supplies. It visited VCCI as part of an assessment trip for its new programme being supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade called the ‘Australia Humanitarian Partnership’. The programme begins in January 2018 and will run until at least 2022.

Field Ready works in three ways: it surveys local manufacturers, not for what they make already but for what machines they have – to learn more about what could be made; they bring in specialist digital machine tools to complement existing capacity; and they provide remote technical assistance, training and freely available designs for local businesses to use. Because Field Ready’s work is all about local manufacturing, it builds capacity in (and never competes with) local businesses. Its work in Haiti, Nepal, Syria and the Caribbean shows that – for the right kind of item – manufacturing locally can be far cheaper, faster and better than using imports. This means that more people can be helped, more people survive and more people get exactly what they need.

There are some great potential synergies between their innovation and local manufacturers here. A lot of money is spent procuring and shipping disaster relief items into Vanuatu. Manufacturing these locally puts more money into our own businesses. It can help businesses get back on their feet faster. It can create jobs, and speed up recovery. New, modern manufacturing techniques can be learned by Vanuatu businesses and people, so that they can enhance their offer to their markets. An example of this is a very flexible new method called 3D Printing.

3D Printing in Vanuatu

Abi Bush, an engineer with Field Ready, carries a 3D Printer in her suitcase. Abi visited the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department in Port Vila and met with the teams that maintain the weather stations around Vanuatu that are crucial in weather forecasting and cyclone early warning. Spare parts for the weather stations are hard to come by, and have to be imported – even a very cheap component can cost a great deal of money and time to ship to Vanuatu and then to install.

Abi met Patricia Mawa who leads the team. Patricia quickly identified a component they struggle to replace – a type of cable grip that prevents water seeping into the electronics. It can cost up to 16,500 Vatu, shipped twice a year. Abi took a photograph and quickly made a 3D model of the required component on her laptop. Abi plugged the 3D Printer into the USB port on her computer and clicked print. Total cost? Less than 5,000 Vatu. Time? 2 hours.

3D Printing is great for prototyping and small quantities of items. Field Ready’s work however can make use of a wide variety of manufacturing techniques – plastics moulding, carpentry, welding and metalwork, casting, soap making, stitching, fibre glass and much more. Field Ready is keen to hear from businesses that would be interested in exploring such ideas and in making disaster relief items here in Vanuatu.

If you would like to learn more about the humanitarian innovation of local manufacturing that Field Ready is bringing to Vanuatu in the coming years, please contact Andrew Lamb, Innovation Advisor at Field Ready, on [email protected] or Astrid Boulekone, General Manager at VCCI, on [email protected]


Photo 1 : A Vanuatu Meteo Geohazards Dept. weather station


Photo 2 : A missing part!


Photo 3 : A 3D model of the spare part designed by Abi Bush


Photo 4 : A new 3D Printed spare part made in Vanuatu




The validity of VYEC’s Strategic Plan was the focus of a validation workshop held at the Chamber of Commerce on Friday 6 October 2017.

Present are VYEC members, the VCCI, VYEC executive, Youth Challenge Vanuatu, VNYC, and Department of Youth and Sports whom are also VYEC’s stakeholders. The workshop was facilitated by VYEC’s consultant, Hannah Taleo.

The VYEC Strategic Plan, once endorsed, will be the Focus of VYEC to reach out and provide business trainings and services to all informal and formal young entrepreneurs throughout Vanuatu with the Technical support from VCCI and Vanuatu Government through the Department of Youth and Sports. The three Goals that the VYEC has determined to focus on are increase promotion, awareness and membership registration, improve access of support services to members and an enabling environment for young entrepreneurs is created.

The Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council Strategic Plan will be launched during the National Dialogue event at the Convention Centre from 31 October to 3 November 2017.