A program to improve corporate governance in the Pacific, funded by the Australian government, has been launched in Fiji with an eye toward increasing the number of women in board positions.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has launched the Pacific Corporate Governance Institute to boost the region’s business sector through good governance. The program aims to mobilize greater investment in Fiji’s private sector through improving efficiency and strengthening the overall business environment, including an improved facilitation of career progression for women on the corporate ladder.
Deva De Silva, the IFC resident representative for the region, says the program will promote board training for women, as there are only eight women out of 109 board positions on companies listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange in Suva, Fiji.
‘We want to train and develop senior managers so women can be suitably qualified to become leaders,’ De Silva told the Australian Associated Press. Women have been gaining university qualifications but ‘something happens on the way to the top and the new institute will examine why they are being left behind,’ he adds.
He continues: ‘Good governance would also help family-owned businesses, which are vital in Fiji. We know globally that about one third of family businesses don’t survive their founder – that’s a very high statistic. But having the tools to deal with related governance issues can help companies survive and thrive.’