Marshall Islands - Future trends

It is clearly very important that the islands extend the agreement with the United States relating to the use of Kwajalein for missile testing. About 1,500 Islanders work at the complex, making up about 13 percent of the labor force, and the jobs are particularly well-paid. The major success in recent years has been the expansion of the frozen fish export sector, and the government would be wise to make sure that the agreements with the Chinese fishing fleets are continued. Tourism has some possibilities as a specialty market, but foreign investment will be vital if significant expansion is to be achieved.

The main sector of concern is the production of coconut products. In the long-term, many of these problems can be solved by registering land-titles and extending loans to farmers to replace exhausted trees. This is particularly important from a social standpoint, as the coconut farmers are among the poorest members of the community. In the short-term, some efforts to improve transport between the islands and atolls would help both the coconut farmers and the small fishermen.

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