Reminder from Vanuatu Customs Revenue Taxpayer Services Section


The October 2022 monthly VAT Reminder from the Inland revenue taxpayer services office:


Marius Metois gets a boost on the mat

Titan FX and AJC Vanuatu help Marius Metois keep his eye on the prize at next
month’s Commonwealth Games.


Will Marius Metois become the fourth Ni-Vanuatu judoka to compete in the Olympics? He’s working his way toward that goal with characteristic determination, starting with the Commonwealth Games, July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, UK. Right now he’s in Australia working with world-class trainers in preparation for the event. Thanks to an AU$7000 joint sponsorship from Titan FX and AJC Vanuatu, Marius can focus 100% of his time and energy on reaching the podium!

Born in New Zealand to French parents, Metois came to Vanuatu as a baby. After a brief stint in judo from age 3 to 5, he returned to the mat more seriously in 2019 at the age of 14. The Vanuatu Judo Federation quickly spotted his physical and mental affinities for the sport, and picked him as Hugo Cumbo’s training partner for the Tokyo Olympics. This naturally placed him next in line to compete for Vanuatu at this year’s Commonwealth Games, the logical gateway to Olympic participation in either 2024 or 2028.

As there are few Ni-Vanuatu judokas, Marius was hard pressed to find training partners in his half-heavyweight (-90 kg) category. As luck would have it, Australian Olympian and friend of Vanuatu Robert Ivers extended Marius an invitation to train with world-class coaching in Sydney starting in January. The young athlete quickly showed his prowess, winning one Bronze medal as a Junior at the Canberra Open, two Bronzes (one each as a Junior and Senior) at the Sydney Open, and then Gold as a Junior at the NSW Judo State Championships.

Then fate stepped in, in the form of a torn hamstring.

Rolling with the punches

“My progress was suddenly put on pause, but I was lucky enough to be well supported by two physiotherapists who put me on the path to rehabilitation. It’s taken almost two months. Now I feel much better,” confides Metois, who’s entered his last training phase before the Birmingham competition.

The accident also compromised his already stretched financial resources. As a Kiwi national he had initially been able to support himself in expensive Sydney, working as a fundraiser for the Life Saving Australia volunteer organization. But with the intensive rehabilitation, there simply weren’t enough hours in the day anymore.

“I still had to keep training the upper portion of my body, twice a day, to maintain my power gains. My lifestyle quickly became miserable as I had to wake up at 4 a.m. for rehabilitation, then work at fundraising all day, then train from 7 p.m. and come back home at 9 p.m. at the earliest. As you can imagine my performance plummeted, both in my judo skills and in sales at work, and I had to make a choice. That’s when I reached out to sponsors for help,” Metois recalls.

Vanuatu’s fintech leader Titan FX teamed up with consulting firm AJC to come up with AU$3500 each, enough to cover the athlete’s expenses until he flies to Europe (the travel costs are separately covered by VASANOC), and also his rent while he’s away.
For AJC, this is a second contribution to Vanuatu judo as the firm also sponsored Nazario Fiakaifonu when he competed in the 2012 London Olympics.

Skilled on and off the mat

Few 18-year-olds think long-term; not only does Marius have two major life pursuits, he’s already well advanced in both.

While he’ll keep raising his judo skills to international levels, Marius has his eye on a career in film and video in Australia, and intends to start seriously exploring the field once his first Olympic bid is over.

The aspiring filmmaker has already distinguished himself with a short documentary released before the last Paralympic Games with the support of the Australian High Commission. Entitled Mi Tu Mi Save Mekem (“I can do it too”), the film tells the uplifting stories of two young Paralympic athletes, Marceline Moli from Santo and Elie Enok from Malekula. You can watch it on YouTube.

Supporters will be able to follow his progress on his Facebook page, as well as those of Vanuatu Judo, Titan FX and AJC. Let’s wish Marius all our best both on and off the tatami!



Get to know Aaron Taravaki better


Aaron Taravaki is Creative Digital Marketing Consultant at AJC.

We asked him 5 questions to get to know him better.

1. Where do you come from ?

Vanuatu and more specifically Efate Island.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

For studies and job opportunities.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Gym, Freediving, Scuba.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

I couldn’t tell at this moment since the future is unknown. But i know for sure that I want to keep on learning and developing in my field of work.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu

Family is what I love about Vanuatu. I know that it is always strange or not so clear when we start telling a foreign person about our family tree but that’s what makes Vanuatu unique is the solidarity of close and extended families.

Aaron Taravaki on Linkedin

Professional Profile of Aaron Taravaki


Get to know Verisha Bakokoto better


Verisha Bakokoto is an Accountant at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I come from an offshore island of Efate located in shefa province called Ifira island.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

For educational and working purposes

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Fishing, Baking, watching movies and documentary

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Professionally: I see myself still working at AJC occupying the position of senior accounting.
Personally: managing my own company.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu

The feeling of living in a village with friendly people.

Verisha Bakokoto on Linkedin

Professional Profile of Verisha Bakokoto


Get to know Anne-Hélène Lefrancq better


Anne-Hélène Lefrancq is Audit and Accounting Manager at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I was born in France, but I moved to Canada when I was 20 years old and lived there for the 10 past years.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I definitely needed some warm weather after spending 10 years of cold winters and snow. A good friend moved to Port Vila 2 years before me and made me discover this beautiful country from abroad. It was not too hard to make me move here 😊

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Meditation, Yoga, Snorkeling & Boxing

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

I see myself with a dog, a cute puppy, or two… or three… (it looks like I might become a vet! 😃)

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu

The abundance of Vanuatu is unique and is the thing that I like the most: abundance of landscapes, of various fruits & vegetables, of cultures, of people, of animals! I never get bored!

Anne-Hélène Lefrancq on Linkedin

Professional Profile of Anne-Hélène Lefrancq


Get to know Anne-Laure Bosson better


Anne-Laure Bosson is Audit and Accounting Manager at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I was born in France, in the Alps, near the Mont Blanc (the highest Western European Mountain) but I immigrated in Canada when I was 20 years old and stayed there for 11 years before coming in Vanuatu.

During these 11 years, I became a Canadian so I am now French-Canadian!

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

My bones were frozen after 11 years in Canada, and I needed a refill of vitamin D.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

I love going on adventures, anywhere,  anytime to do anything! I particularly love to climb (normally on rocks but here, in Vanuatu, on trees…). I love to be in the water and go to the beach to watch a good sunset. And I love to read, I am a very curious person always keen to read about anything really.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

5 or 10 years ago, I could not have imagined to be one day here in Vanuatu so I can’t imagine where I will be in 5 or 10 years from now… I’ll let my faith decide!

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu

The feeling of living in a hidden gem, a secret place! The beauty of everything around us is stunning: in Vanuatu, the green is greener, the blue is bluer, the moon is lighter… I feel alive and everyday seems to count twice!

Anne Laure Bosson on Linkedin

Professional Profile of Anne Laure Bosson


DFK RANKED SIXTH LARGEST ASSOCIATION IN THE WORLD


DFK International has been ranked as the sixth largest association in the world by a leading industry magazine.

AJC has been a proud member of DFK International for 10 years.

The association has moved up one spot in the ratings to achieve sixth place in the International Accounting Bulletin’s (IAB’s) annual 2022 World Survey Report.

The report is based on collective fee income, with DFK International members firms achieving a turnover of $1.532 billion.

DFK has sat in seventh place for 10 years, but has moved up the list after achieving a growth rate of three per cent compared to the previous year.

The association now has 230 member firms, 1,413 partners, 13,919 staff members and 455 offices in 94 countries.

IAB is the only global magazine covering the professional services world. Focusing on business issues affecting accounting firms, networks and associations, it is a trusted source for leading accounting news, as well as vital data and analysis provided by its survey features.

It is regarded as a must-read title by the world’s leading accounting professionals, and is supported by an advisory board comprising a roll call of international CEOs.

Martin Sharp, executive director of DFK International, said: “We are very proud to be among the leading associations worldwide.

“Moving up to sixth place demonstrates that despite the pandemic, DFK remains one of the strongest associations in the world and our member firms have continued to grow, which is a fantastic achievement.

“We have seen growth across all services lines, particularly in North America, which shows that our members have continued to provide outstanding support to their clients in a challenging environment and in-turn have expanded their practices.

“We now look forward to another successful year as we continue to do business and share knowledge and best practice to achieve further growth.”

To learn more about DFK International visit www.dfk.com


AJC Vanuatu brings global best practices to Vanuatu as a Full Member of DFK International


AJC Vanuatu is proud to announce its accreditation as a Full Member of DFK International, the London-based association of independent accounting, tax, legal, and business advisory firms. The organization, with more than 200 members in 100 countries, recognizes AJC’s outstanding work and professionalism in upholding the values and best practices embraced by its members worldwide. 

Founded in 2003 in Port Vila, AJC first joined DFK International in 2009 as a Correspondent Member. Since then, the firm has tripled in size by broadening its range of accounting and business advisory services, including audit and accounting, the incorporation of local and offshore companies, corporate secretariat, and support to investors seeking to obtain licenses issued by Vanuatu authorities. 

The team is now made up of 30 seasoned professionals including accountants, lawyers and digital communications experts.  

Marie Eve Chabot, Managing Director of AJC, said: “DFK International has been instrumental throughout the years in helping us build our network, stay on top of industry best practices, and bring added value to our clients by referring them to like-minded firms across the world. Now that we are a Full Member, we expect to reap even greater benefit from this prestigious association.” 

While today AJC is one of the leading professional services firms in Vanuatu, it has stayed true to its roots as a family business. Canadian-born Marie Eve Chabot, CA, CPA, took over the lead two years ago from her husband – also CA, CPA – Martin St-Hilaire. 

Besides its instrumental role in facilitating the kind of foreign investment that helps grow the country’s economy, AJC is also proud to provide an outstanding professional training environment to Ni Vanuatu graduates. Building a nation through economic growth requires a highly skilled workforce, and AJC strives to do its part in developing Ni Vanuatu talent.  

In recent years AJC has been through a thorough digital transformation and it now helps clients achieve the same. It has also developed in-depth expertise in regulatory issues and offers custom-tailored consulting services in this area whenever clients need them.


AJC Vanuatu kickstarts 2022 with hope, renewal and new services


AJC Audit & Accounting Team, 5th January 2022

AJC Vanuatu kickstarts 2022
Left to right: Diana, Isaline, Vanessa, Verisha, Tristan, Anne-Laure, Anne-Hélène, Evelyne, Marie-Eve, Leyla, Clayberman, Marlène 

AJC would like to wish the Port Vila Community, our clients and everyone in Vanuatu Happy New Year 2022. 

We are now entering the third year of the world pandemic. The past two years have been very difficult for many of our clients, in particular those operating tourism-related businesses. 

New services

AJC, like most businesses in Vanuatu, have had to look at diversifying our offerings. In addition to our standard range of professional services – accounting, audits, business valuations, corporate secretaries, residency visas, work permits, international entries to Vanuatu, local and international company setup, financial dealer licenses – we have built an entirely new digital marketing division to help clients fine-tune their websites and advertise in search engines and social media. The division has already secured its official Google Ad Partner certification – a first for Vanuatu.

New people

Unfortunately, this last pandemic year has taken two of our highest skilled professionals. Damien Mullins, a Chartered Accountant from Australia, left us to move to Canberra with his family and Annick Bonnier Roy, CPA from Canada, decided to follow her heart when her Kiwi pilot boyfriend ran short of planes to fly in Vanuatu.

Other members of our team will continue to benefit the local community: Chloe Rolland joined the Vanuatu Government, in the Prime Minister’s Office no less, Isabelle Theuil joined the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) organisation and Sara Harry went to one of our valued clients, Titan FX. 

Our firm is not only a business; it is also a place for professional training and career development, where graduates can hone their skills and knowledge acquired at schools before they move to the next professional step. The kind of experience we provide in a professional services firm gives our employees a wide skill set and we are happy to see them share with the world wherever they go. 

Speaking of newcomers, we are pleased to announce to Vanuatu’s business community and our clients and employees that two new skilled recruits, Anne Laure Bosson and Anne Helene Lefrancq, both Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA – Canada), have safely landed in Vanuatu just before Christmas and started a new step of their professional journeys within AJC.

People come and go, and everybody grows from it. 

Anne Laure and Anne Helene are both dual citizens of France and Canada, and they both graduated from HEC at the Université de Montréal and completed their CPA in Canada. They worked for an international firm in Montreal for years before coming here, and their knowledge and skills are a great addition to AJC, our clients, our team, and the community as a whole.

So, let’s wish all our clients and employees a blissful journey into the New Year and, again, let’s wish a warm welcome to Anne Laure and Anne Helene. 

We wish you all a great year 2022!

Marie Eve Chabot - AJC Vanuatu 2022


Digital Assets Legislation Brings Opportunity for Vanuatu

For Vanuatu, the future of financial services has already begun in the form of a recently gazetted amendment that formalizes the use of digital assets for licensed financial dealers. The freshly minted legislation, [Financial Dealers Licensing, 22/07/2021], allows for the “service of distribution, secondary trading, custodial storage, provision of investment advice or other services in relation to digital assets.”

Though digital assets themselves have been a hotly-contested issue in the past few years, a period of deliberation and structured evaluation led Vanuatu to reconsider and overturn an initial ban. Digital assets rely on a distributed, secure ledger, such as blockchain technology, and can be used to represent land, stocks, or other traditional commodities, but their most widespread use is for currencies.

Digital Assets Legislation Brings Opportunity for Vanuatu

AJC sees the passage of this legislation as a way for financial dealers to work at the forefront of an innovative, versatile asset class and, further, to potentially set the stage for the future of commerce in Vanuatu.
 
Martin St-Hilaire, chairman of the Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu, noted, “this type of forward-thinking decision came at the right time, and it presents a unique opportunity for Vanuatu to take the lead on the world stage.”
 
For Vanuatu, official support came through examples of the real-world uses of digital assets and virtual currencies—most notably, Oxfam’s 2020 ‘Unblocked Cash Project,’ which utilized a digital token to give immediate relief for Vanuatu residents affected by Cyclone Harold.
 
The resulting legislation works to expand the possibilities for licensed companies in Vanuatu as well as to bring forth a new avenue of sustainable economic growth. As a collaborative effort, its journey to becoming gazetted required support and insight from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in addition to parliament members themselves.
 
“It’s important to stay anchored in the community in both the development and the implementation of regulations that push Vanuatu forward,” added St-Hilaire.
 
Could the next legislative step be a digital currency for day-to-day use in Vanuatu? AJC certainly hopes so, as we argued in our position paper The case for digitizing the Vatu.
 

 
While the legislation works to help the global community move in step with the country’s development, one key addition is that it has also made operating in Vanuatu more accessible to foreign licensed financial dealers.
 
International companies can now nominate a representative on the ground in Vanuatu — one way being through AJC — to satisfy the requirements of the law. As such, companies are able to continue to conduct business from afar while maintaining meaningful representation in the country, thus allowing them to make the most of the continued opportunities in the investment and financial services world coming to Vanuatu. Please contact us for more information on how to conform to the new requirements.


COVID-19 Vaccinations in Vanuatu

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is starting its COVID-19 vaccination program in Efate today (June 2), and will expand to Sanma province in August, Tafea in September, Malampa & Penama in October and Torba in November

The first people eligible for vaccination will be frontline medical workers, those 55 years of age or older, as well as people with underlying condition such as NCDs. Depending on the initial demand from the targeted population, Vanuatu will open vaccinations to the whole population over 18+ years in the next stage to make sure all doses are distributed before the current expiration date at the end of August. It seems plausible that vaccination will be open to everyone on Efate at some point during the month of July.

Currently MOH is using the AstraZeneca Vaccine. They have 100,000 doses allocated through the COVAX program, with 24,000 doses currently in the Country. Vanuatu is looking to reserve up to 200,000 doses through COVAX. Australia is also looking to supply additional AstraZenaca vaccines to Vanuatu. It is possible that other vaccines will be available to Vanuatu at a later date, but the MOH is for now concentrating on using AstraZeneca as it is logistically more suited to Vanuatu’s vaccine storage and distribution systems. At this time, there should not be any expectation that Vanuatu will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. MOH may try to obtain the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one dose, and it might be possible that Vanuatu also gains access to one of the Chinese vaccines if they are approved for use in Vanuatu.

Vaccination will be open to citizens and residents alike. A second dose will be administered 8 to 12 weeks after the first dose. Once you receive your second dose, you will be considered fully vaccinated and will receive a vaccination certification to prove it.

Regarding AstraZeneca side effects, as of the date of writing, the MOH is expecting that the country will experience up to 1 case of blood clotting related to the vaccine. Compared with numbers found in studies done in Australia and the US, this number is plausible. Clots are extremely rare. In the US, from 8.7 million doses administered, there were 28 cases of clots associated with COVID-19 vaccination and 3 deaths. Vanuatu may experience some cases of blood clotting or it may experience none, based on the fact that the population is only 300,000 people. If you are uncertain about getting the vaccine, there are no specific contraindications unless you have had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past. MOH will have doctors at vaccination sites and will do assessments for anyone who has doubts. The key takeaway is that the vaccine is your best chance against COVID-19 since there is much, much more risks of complications and death with COVID-19 than the vaccine. Vanuatu will most probably not get Moderna or Pfizer for the foreseeable future, and the other vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) has the same side effects as AstraZeneca.

Based on data from Canada, probabilities of having a blood clots from AstraZeneca are 0.0004%. In Canada, the average probability of having a blood clot not related to the COVID-19 vaccine is 0.13%. There is 322 times more “naturally” occuring blood clot cases in the general population compared blood clots cases related to AstraZeneca vaccine. Blood clots from COVID-19 vaccine are therefore extremely rare.

In Canada, people hospitalized for COVID-19 infection had 14.7% probability of having a blood clot.

It is important to remember that Vanuatu’s population is particularly at risk from complications to COVID-19 due to the high prevalence of NCDs.

Vaccination is not mandatory, but the more people there are that get vaccinated, the better chance we have to fight COVID-19 as a country and protect the people who are the most vulnerable.


BRAIN GAIN: How education and immigration will help Vanuatu achieve true independence


Abstract

  • Vanuatu’s location, geography, climate and dearth of natural resources are all structural challenges to its economic growth.
  • Ever since independence 40 years ago the Republic has depended on foreign aid to make ends meet.
  • To be truly independent, Vanuatu must achieve sustainable growth by its own means.
  • Our best chance for sustainable growth lies in 21st-century knowledge industries (financial services, software design, communications, marketing, to name a few).
  • These industries are not constrained by space, use little physical resources, and are mostly green.
  • They only require an educated workforce and high-speed Internet.
  • Vanuatu lags behind in education and the economy is already struggling with a deep shortage of educated workers.
  • The government has made positive strides in primary education but we need to support our youth all the way through post-secondary education.
  • Students should learn English or French and access computers from the primary level, so they can enroll later in quality high schools and colleges abroad/online.
  • Educating our future knowledge workers will require extra public revenue, but our only room for economic growth is in knowledge industries.
  • That chicken-and-egg paradox can be solved by importing high-skilled workers.
  • However in June 2020, the government introduced a new list of “reserved occupations” that bars foreigners from working in certain managerial, professional and technical positions.
  • Many of the newly listed occupations require post-secondary education.
  • While the list is an important tool to preserve opportunities for Ni-Van, it doesn’t address the shortage of tertiary-educated workers among them.
  • We actually need foreigners to help fill available positions and attract more Foreign Direct Investment to Vanuatu.
  • In the knowledge economy, money and human capital are inextricably linked. The former will come on the condition that we welcome the latter.
  • Highly educated foreign workers can kickstart Vanuatu’s knowledge economy, inspire our youth to follow their example, and help educate the next generation of Ni-Van who will ultimately reap the benefits.
Help Vanuatu achieve true independence

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BRAIN GAIN:
How education and immigration will help Vanuatu achieve true independence


Knowledge industries are high value, low-capital, and environmentally friendly. They’re also Vanuatu’s most promising means of achieving the economic self-reliance of a truly independent nation. But since they require a highly educated workforce, we’ll either have to grow our own or import human capital from abroad.

The independent Republic of Vanuatu just turned 40, and it’s time we levelled with ourselves: how truly independent are we?

Due to our location, geography, climate and dearth of natural resources, what little our economy manages to export every year is dwarfed by the strategic imports we need to survive.

This is the hand we’ve been dealt and, as a result, we’ve been forced to rely on aid money from the international community. Ever since the colonial powers pulled up anchor, we’ve been at least to some extent dependent on the largesse of others. This has always left our leaders exposed to geopolitical pressure, flagrant or otherwise, when it comes to enacting legislation, for instance.

Until now, we haven’t been able to invest that foreign aid in ways that could reduce our dependence on it. Despite the flow of aid coming into the country year after year, we’re still performing poorly, as evidenced by our sluggish growth (2.7% for 2017-2018) and stagnating per capita income (a little over 3,000 USD in 2019). And that was before the coronavirus hit.

By any objective measure, it seems we simply cannot build a stronger, more self-reliant economy despite all the money we throw at it. A culture of foreign aid dependence may very well have contributed to this inertia.

Perhaps we’re developing the wrong economy?

The world has changed in 40 years. A large part of global economic growth no longer comes from muscles and machines as it did in the last century. Service industries such as software design, financial services, information and communications, marketing and support are some of the best-performing sectors in today’s world. They form what’s loosely termed the knowledge economy. It’s been a rapid transition with much disruption. When it comes to developing a truly independent Vanuatu, perhaps it’s just the kind of disruption we’ve been waiting for.

From the perspective of a small island nation, the main benefit of the knowledge economy is that it’s free of physical limitations. While a traditional economy is constrained by the amount of, say, arable land or fish stocks it possesses, many knowledge industries are only limited by the number of productive minds contributing to them. For Vanuatu, knowledge is the key to the economic liberation that is the true hallmark of an independent state.

It’s time

Our economic history of the last 40 years shows us that Vanuatu has a better shot at grabbing a slice of the global economic pie using brain power rather than the traditional, physically-limited sectors it has struggled to develop. During that time, regular injections of foreign aid have amounted to nothing more than life support. Now that our economy has been plunged into pandemic-driven recession, we are painfully aware that we cannot rely on a steady stream of tourists to save the day. This moment, perhaps more than any other in our history, is the time to remodel our economic growth plans around the knowledge economy.

Besides improving our trade balance, embracing industries of the future will have a positive impact on every resident’s well-being. Where the traditional physical economy requires lots of natural resources, arable land and fossil fuels, the knowledge economy runs almost solely on an educated labour force with reliable access to the Internet.

And because populations with these advanced skillsets are still relatively rare and unevenly distributed, employers can’t just pull up stakes and relocate to another country in search of lower labour costs, as frequently occurs in the manufacturing sector. Every gain in GDP produced by knowledge workers is ours for the keeping.

Education is liberation

Education for Vanuatu

Education is hugely important for every country as it results in a better-informed citizenry that becomes the very foundation of a resilient society. For Vanuatu its dividends would be even greater, as it can be the golden path to the kind of economic self-reliance that supports true, no-strings-attached independence.

While COVID-19 hit the island nation hard in most every other respect, it resulted in a positive paradigm shift in education. Online education makes learning easier and more effective, yet ensuring remote areas have access to high-speed Internet only adds to the government’s financial burden.

Given our current challenges, the road to true independence will be long and arduous. The Republic currently lags behind its regional and global peers by most metrics. Ni-Vanuatu receive 6.8 years of schooling on average; only 5% of us go beyond secondary education, while three times more (17%) have no formal education at all.

Our current supply of fresh post-secondary graduates meets just a fraction of market demand. Shortage of highly skilled employees, mostly managers, professionals and technicians, is evident in both public and private sectors in Vanuatu. It is estimated that the government needs nearly 4,600 skilled employees to meet the goals of the National Development Plan. The private sector also confirms that finding skilled employees is the top issue faced by local businesses; in a survey conducted in 2018, 60% of businesses said it was hard or very hard to recruit workers with the required skills. Even in positions that are already filled, only 51% of managers and 40% of professionals have earned higher degrees. This doesn’t mean the rest of them can’t perform just as well, but a formal education clearly couldn’t hurt.

The lack of education also explains the relatively high unemployment among Ni-Vanuatu youth who, with their limited qualifications, cannot fill vacancies. In fact, the majority of economically active Ni-Vanuatu are still engaged in the subsistence economy (non-wage employment), mostly in the agricultural sector.

Before it can transform the economy, the government needs to prioritise investment in education. It has taken promising steps with the Vanuatu Education and Training Sector Strategy 2020-2030, and the strategic directions taken under the National Sustainable Development Plan 2016-2030. Though there’s no question that education is a long term solution, it’s been a decade since the Word Bank first remarked that Vanuatu’s progress toward universal primary education was disappointing, and despite continuing reform, gains remain fragile. In 2018, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade pointed to the large number of widely dispersed schools, the limited supply of qualified teachers, and the high numbers of out-of-school children here, significant impediments to the most basic, universal primary education.

Speak English, French and Computers

Providing a universal primary education to Ni-Vanuatu children has been a struggle. And, because so much primary school is conducted in Bislama at the expense of French and English, attaining universal primary education would not have near the same positive long term economic impact as it would if school were conducted in any of the major languages of the world economy.

Right now, only 51% of Ni-Vanuatu speak English and a paltry 22% know French, even though both are official languages. This seriously limits prospects for attaining higher education domestically and overseas. While it would seem ironic that to achieve true independence Ni-Vanuatu need to teach their kids the languages of their former colonists, those languages hold much more sway than Bislama in the global knowledge economy, beginning in post-secondary schools where the jobs of the future are taught.

Bislama is a cornerstone of Ni-Vanuatu culture. It holds a treasure trove of stories and values of the Ni-Vanuatu ancestors and must be cherished and preserved for future generations. But as a primarily oral language with a negligible written canon it seriously limits opportunities for youth and is an impediment to the nation’s development. Literacy in English and French, on the other hand, opens doors to many of the world’s most prestigious institutions of education, and ultimately, to commerce.

One only has to look at the new generation of Chinese, Indian or Vietnamese students flooding Western universities, or at least that were before Covid hit. Even though tertiary education is available in their own countries, most choose to learn a foreign language and study overseas to acquire the skills necessary to take part in the fast-paced growth of their economies.

Of course, not everybody is destined for a scholarship at Harvard. It would however be a huge plus if Vanuatu youth were able to meet the linguistic requirements to at least enrol in online courses from foreign schools, some of which are quite affordable, and where they could receive a quality education all the way up to the graduate level.

Then there are the other pressing needs concerning our youth: computer literacy and Internet usage, currently at 4% and 5% in our schools respectively, are massive gaps that urgently need to be addressed. There is an obvious need to invest more in education and upgrading schools for the digital age. This key first step will trip a chain reaction of beneficial outcomes. Without it, another generation will never reach its full economic potential, the cycle of poverty will perpetuate and for the foreseeable future Vanuatu will depend on the crutch of foreign aid to support its very existence.

Study overseas to acquire the skills

Kickstarting the knowledge economy

Any large-scale program to spur education will need government funding… and time. This becomes a chicken-and-egg conundrum, because only the knowledge economy can deliver the kind of substantial growth and resulting tax revenues needed to fund the educational push. The way out of this predicament is to attract immediate investment from abroad. In that sense Foreign Direct Investment can act as a real-time kickstarter for Vanuatu’s knowledge engine.

Right now FDI stands at 4.5% of GDP and has already created around 9,000 jobs (21% of total wage employment). More had been confirmed but is currently held up by the pandemic.

Import talent

Import and local talent working together

Due to the lack of highly educated workers among Ni-Vanuatu, they often need to be brought in by foreign investors. This means that inflows of money and people into Vanuatu are inextricably linked, especially in the knowledge industries on which our future depends. Currently a majority of the 900 foreigners holding work permits occupy management and professional positions, bringing valuable skills to the country. If we’re to attract more FDI to high-value industries, we’ll need to open our doors to more skilled foreigners. Brains are already becoming a more valuable import than any piece of machinery in the “old” economy.

Reserved occupations: a double-edged sword

However, just as it needs more skilled foreign workers to offset the shortage in the local supply, the government is simultaneously narrowing their employment opportunities.

Vanuatu has long sought to protect its citizens from unfair job competition; for more than two decades, its list of “reserved occupations” has included drivers, machinery operators, receptionists, street vendors, bartenders and other jobs that plenty of local workers are perfectly able and willing to hold. This form of protectionism is common around the world and is sensible policy… as long as it does not impede wider economic growth.

But in June 2020, the policy took a problematic turn. 33 positions were added to the reserved list, including many of the kind of managerial, professional and technical positions (ISCO classes 1 to 3) that were already hard to fill with domestic talent, like financial controller, HR manager, auditor and IT specialist.

While it may be a political reflex to protect citizens in the job market, the current skilled labour shortage demonstrates there just aren’t many trained Ni-Van candidates to protect. In fact, not only does the economy need foreigners to fill the void, but barring them could make their positions disappear altogether.

Currently here are about 500 foreigners working as managers, professionals and technicians who may lose their jobs in Vanuatu as a result of additions to the reserved list. Instead of replacing them with non-existent qualified Ni-Vanuatu, employers will redirect workloads to remote workers overseas, or they may even relocate a business to another country. Even if they were to hire less-qualified Ni-Vanuatu as a gesture of good will, this may affect quality and productivity, which could result in business losses, destroying all the much-needed jobs they had created. Either way, the law that started as necessary protectionism could easily end up harming the very job market it was intended to defend.

No one can steal what you don’t have

At 1.1% of the total population, the share of foreign immigrants in Vanuatu is already among the lowest in the region. At the same time, about 9,000 Ni-Vanuatu have moved abroad and another 5,000 take on seasonal work in Australia and New Zealand. Vanuatu’s Commissioner of Labour, Murielle Meltenoven, recently remarked on the high number of workers that responded to the demand for labour abroad. We must point out how an equally high number of foreigners are needed to offset the labour shortage here, albeit on the other end of the skill spectrum.

When it comes to jobs requiring higher education, foreigners do not compete with the local workforce, with its glaring deficiency in this area. Instead, they complement it with specialized skills acquired abroad. But their contribution goes beyond their own personal economic output. The assurance they will be eligible to work is one of the key reasons their employer chose to operate in Vanuatu in the first place, and why future investors will follow.

Again, in the knowledge economy money and human capital are inextricably linked, which explains why labour mobility sits at the top of any international company’s checklist when evaluating which countries are good candidates for setting up shop. Further restrictions could have the effect of pulling Vanuatu way down the global ease-of-doing-business rankings, where it already sits at number 107 of 190.

While they fill in for non-existent local candidates, skilled foreign workers can also help train the next generation of Ni-Vanuatu who aspire to do their jobs. Their mere presence can be an inspiration, as they introduce our youth to the many intellectual pursuits and opportunities that exist out there in the wide, wide world, and demonstrate how a suitably industrious individual can make a truly fulfilling career in one of them.

Extend the opportunity ladder

Still, the list of reserved occupations remains a powerful tool for preserving opportunities for Ni-Vanuatu. Foreign companies should not be allowed to supply their own worker if there’s one available locally. May the sad experience of poor countries from Namibia to Cambodia, where Chinese construction companies bring in their own workers along with a complete service ecosystem, serve as a warning to us all. The net gain in local job creation and downstream spending in many of these cases is close to zero.

But the list should not become a deterrent to those foreigners whose skillsets are not available in the local labour supply. It’s in the nation’s best interest to attract people with the highest possible skills. When this happens, opportunities on the lower rungs of the employment ladder are created, while business success and expansion extends the ladder overall, leaving ample room for those who aspire to ever-higher rungs.

Instead of barring them from certain occupations, the government should do the exact opposite: simplify admission of high-skilled foreigners and even create incentives for them to come. Hong Kong has a specially designed Technology Talent Admission Scheme for technical professionals. New Zealand removes the labour market test for applicants who match their official skill shortage list (mostly in the ISCO 1-3 and 7 classes). Singapore lets applicants skip that test above a certain salary threshold.

For Vanuatu, the last approach seems the easiest to implement and control. Above a certain salary, foreign workers could apply for a simplified, low-frills, long-duration, zero-fee visa. This would make Vanuatu more appealing to foreign service industry investors. In addition to the long-term macro-economic benefits of developing Vanuatu’s knowledge economy, a healthy portion of these high salaries will immediately end up in the local economy, helping pay for education among other things.

High-salary workers can even be invited without having their employer move to Vanuatu at all. In the knowledge economy, remote work rules, especially since pandemic lockdowns around the world have forced the most conservative companies to embrace it. Whether you’re a freelancer or an employee, all you need is an Internet connection. This explains the recent creation of Digital Nomad visas by jurisdictions like Estonia, Barbados and Bermuda, the latter two small tropical island nations that were devastated by lost tourism revenue. Ring a bell?

Beyond making up for lost tourism, highly educated workers are the most valuable import when it comes to kickstarting Vanuatu’s knowledge economy and educating the next generation of Ni-Van, who will ultimately reap the benefits.


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Get to know Catherine Amusen better


Catherine Amusen. Team AJC

Catherine Amusen is Secretary Offshore Corporate Services at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I am from the lovely island of Ambrym, one of the islands in Vanuatu part of Malampa Province.

I grew up in the village of Mele-Maat in which I always called home. The Mele-Maat Village is situated 1 km away from the Port Vila Town. 

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

Due to natural disaster, my grandparents move to Port Vila back in 1950. So ever since, we live in Port Vila.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Favorite hobbies are watching movies on weekends with families and friends, reading a book now and then, listening to music, hang out with friends and like to travel.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Professionally, I’d like to be seen as someone with deep experience in the corporate sector (covering the main areas of law, company law, insurance law, Financial Dealers Law, etc…) in 5 years’ time. I am also excited to take on drafting legal responsibilities and expand on my legal career path.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, you will meet the friendliness and smiling faces of the people.

Catherine Amusen on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Catherine Amusen

Catherine Amusen

Get to know Marine Dondelinger-Mathis better


Marine Dondelinger-Mathis - AJC team

Marine Dondelinger-Mathis is Director, Head Manager of Corporate Services and Compliance at AJC.

We asked Marine 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I grew up in the East of the France, in Lorraine. Most of the members of my Family and my very dear Friends are still living there which makes it probably the place I cherish the most.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I am from that type of people who never stop having new challenges, and leaving everything to go to the other side of the planet, discovering a new culture, new people, and giving me new professional objectives, was definitely an exciting project !

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Walking my dog every day, enjoying nature, cooking, drinking wine with my friends, listening to every crazy idea that comes to my mind, and do it !

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Isn’t it the beauty of the future of not knowing ?

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

What I like the most is probably the people, now friends, I met in Vanuatu. Opening up yourself to something new will always bring you positive in your life. Vanuatu is new at all levels. People, environment, lifestyle, food…

Marine Dondelinger-Mathis on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Marine Dondelinger-Mathis

Marine

Get to know Lydie Manwo better


Lydie Manwo - AJC team

Lydie Manwo is Secretary Offshore Corporate Services at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

Vanuatu, Malekula.

I was born in Port-Vila. Native of the province of Malampa, Malekula on the Atchin islet.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ?

I was born in Port Vila. My parents live in Port Vila.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

I like to practice different sports (Zumba, Crossfit & Stretching) and it is good for the health.

Also I like social Interaction with Youths: Spiritual Growth.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Still working for AJC and maybe part-time in order to continue Studies.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu

Paradise place in the Pacific. People are friendly & kind. What I like the most is our Culture & Traditions.

Lydie Manwo on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Lydie Manwo

Lydie Manwo - AJC Vanuatu

Doing Business 2021


AJC recognized for its contribution to the 2021 Doing Business reports.

Founded in 2002, the Doing Business project is a series of annual studies measuring the regulations that enhance business activity. It is now a World Bank Group flagship publication.

The reports use objective, quantitative indicators on business regulation and the protection of property rights in order to rank 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.

Doing Business covers 12 areas of business regulation:

  • starting a business,
  • dealing with construction permits,
  • getting electricity,
  • registering property,
  • getting credit,
  • protecting minority investors,
  • paying taxes,
  • trading across borders,
  • enforcing contracts,
  • resolving insolvency
  • regulation on employing workers
  • contracting with the government

To collect reliable data from those 190 economies, the 2021 Doing Business reports relied on more than 48,000 professionals across a host of industries.

Among them were AJC’s Marine Dondelinger-Mathis, Martin St-Hilaire, and Olivier Weber. We are very proud to have them involved in the project, and thus showcasing Vanuatu on the international scene.

Doing Business 2021 Certificate Marine Dondelinger-Mathis
Doing Business 2021 Certificate Martin St Hilaire
Doing Business 2021 Certificate Olivier Weber
The world Bank - Doing Business Project

Get to know Margaux Carel better


Margaux Carel - AJC team

Margaux Carel is Manager Offshore Corporate services and Alternate Compliance Officer at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I was born in Evreux, a small town in France located 100 kilometers north west of Paris.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ?

I move in Vanuatu because I was tired to be cold in France and more generally in Europe, especially in winter. And I am rather satisfied to make this choice.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

I like to play tennis and go to the cinema during weekends.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

My main goal is to live in the USA in the coming years.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Definitely the climate and the kindness of the Ni-vans.

Margaux Carel on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Margaux Carel

Margaux Carel - AJC Vanuatu

Get to know Marie Brenda Pipite better


Marie Brenda Pipite - AJC team

Maire Brenda Pipite is Secretary – Offshore Corporate Services – at AJC.

We asked Marie Brenda 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I come from the island of Santo – grew up in Luganville (the capital) / Port Olry (my village) and also here in Port Vila.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I came to Vila with my father who is a politician and works in Port Vila, my mother is a teacher and was transferred to the Port Vila Institute of Technology. So I had to move here with them and continue my studies here at the French school in Colardo.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Most of the time, after working hours, I prefer going straight home and spend time with my family, especially with my little daughter. But sometimes, after working hours, I go out with my friends/cousins to relax a little (kava sessions/sports/etc…).

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Professionally, in 5 or 10 years I still see myself working at AJC (I hope).

Personally, I see myself owning a property and building my house on it, etc…

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu

See below:

  • Paradisiac places you can find in Vanuatu;
  • People are very friendly/kind/affectionate;
  • Most things are cheaper;
  • Etc…

Marie Brenda Pipite on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Marie Brenda Pipite

Marie Brenda

Get to know Kisito Kalnpel better


Kisito Kalnpel - AJC team

Kisito Kalnpel – Corporate Services – at AJC.

We asked Kisito 5 questions to get to know him better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I come from Malekula in the village of Unmet (Big Nambass). One of the good memories that make this place very special for me is when we have a custom ceremony of Namangi high-ranking chief’s give all his right to his son. It is a unique big nambass culture that for the past forty-years.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ?

I move to Port-Vila to continue my studies.

After I finished certificate in Accounting, today I am here and working for AJC.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Go to the Gym after working hours.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Still work for AJC and may be continue my studies after.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Vanuatu is the paradise place in the pacific. We have friendly and kind people that always keep smiling.

Kisito Kalnpel on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Kisito Kalnpel

Ksito Kalnpel

Get to know Olivier Weber better


Olivier Weber - AJC team

Olivier is Manager Corporate Services at AJC.

We asked him 5 questions to get to know him better.

1. Where do you come from ?

France. I was born near Paris but I grew up in Saint Raphael on the French riviera. Red rocks, blue sea and smell of pines trees make it special.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

To show my kids the world is wide and diverse.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ? 

Reading (almost everything); Cooking, Sports, especially soccer (and especially on TV) TV Shows (“Gomorrah” is the greatest  one ever).

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

In 5 years: In Port Vila, doing the same kind of things but better (in order to pay my daughter’s studies).

In 10 years: in Port Vila, doing even more things and even better (in order to pay my son’s studies).

And in 15 years: thinking about retiring in Roma.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Greater freedom + closer to the reactor core = everything seems possible.

Olivier Weber - AJC team

Get to know Vanessa Korikalo better


Vanessa Karikalo - Team AJC Vanuatu

Vanessa Korikalo is Accountant at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I am originated from the small beautiful coastal island of Ifira.

Ifira is in the heart of Port Vila, the capital city of Vanuatu where majority of the commercial businesses are situated. Above all,  the unique experience I will always cherish about my home island is the comfortable silence. In other words, the only noise you will be hearing are the sound of the boats and the peaceful crashing sound of waves.

I have spent my entire childhood in Ifira surrounded with friends and lots of friendly people who have made Ifira feel more like home.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

For educational and working purposes.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?
  • Spending any spare time I have with my family.
  • Brighten my friend’s day with my silly jokes in which I am pretty sure they all enjoy it.
  • I love listening to all music.
  • And I am a fan of outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, hunting etc.).
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

In 5 or 10 years’ time, I professionally envision myself still working at AJC and be a manager in the accounts department.

I am personally thinking of pursing my studies in the fields of Accounting and Management and also manage my own small business with the expertise I have acquired.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Vanuatu is the untouched paradise with diverse cultural background. It has many attractive touristic sites such as active Volcanoes, Land diving, Blue hole at Santo and plenty more adventurous sites in which you will not regret.

Vanessa Korikalo on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Vanessa Korikalo


Get to know Simone Taga better


Simone Taga

Simone Taga is Secretary – Onshore Administrative Services – at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I am from Paama Island. A small island located between Ambrym and Epi. However, I grew up in Santo.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I moved to Port Vila to continue my studies.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

I like to play sports and like many Ni-Vanuatu, I like to joke and laugh with my friends.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

No idea yet.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Nature and people’s smiles. If I had to convince someone to come to Vanuatu, I would suggest that they come and discover the volcanoes and the Gaul jump.

Simone Taga on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Simone Taga

Simone Taga - AJC team

Get to know Candice Benard better


Candice Benard

Candice Benard is Manager – Corporate Services and Alternate Compliance Officer – at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I was born in Nimes, France but raised in Africa. I moved to Vanuatu when I was 13 years old.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ?

My parents moved to Vanuatu 26 years ago so we followed them, and discovered a new life in paradise.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ? 

Travelling, cooking and spending time with my family.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

In Vanuatu or maybe in Canada if we decide to brave the -30 degrees!

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

The generosity and the smiles of Ni Vanuatu.

Candice Benard on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Candice Benard

Candice Benard - team AJC

Get to know Nathalie  Lawac better


Nathalie Lawac - AJC team

Nathalie Lawac is Secretary – Onshore Administrative Services – at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I come from a small island called ATCHIN which is located on the island of Mallicolo in the province of MALAMPA.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ?

I arrived in Port Vila in 1990 to continue my studies at INTV (Vanuatu National Institute of Technology. In 1991, I obtained my CAP accounting diploma.

In 1992, I got a post of accounting secretary in the Catholic Education Directorate. (DEC), which allowed me to stay in Port Vila.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

When I have free time, I do the housework.

My favorite hobby is cooking, gardening, listening to music or visiting family.

In the evening, I like to watch TV.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Professionally: improve my knowledge and skills in English (oral and written)

Personally: building a house for my family.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Vanuatu is a peaceful place where people smile and are kind.

Nathalie Lawac - AJC team

Get to know Marie Paule Nabon better


Marie Paule Nabon at AJC Vanuatu

Marie Paule is Executive Secretary at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I am originally from the island of Malo, but I never went to Malo and therefore lived all my childhood in Port Vila.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ?

I was born in Port Vila.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

I can never find enough time to do everything I want, but I love reading, listening to music and especially having a good time with my 3 grandchildren.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Still working at AJC and not retired ☺

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

The good thing about Vanuatu is the relaxed lifestyle, the absence of complicated and unnecessary taxes, the beautiful secluded beaches, the weather …

Marie Paule - AJC team

Get to know Marie Eve Chabot better


Marie Eve Chabot - AJC Vanuatu

Marie Eve is Director and Manager at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I am from the continent call AMERICA!

So don’t be surprise to hear me say I am american. More precisely I am from Canada and the province of Quebec. Quebec is a french speaking province among the rest of the north continent where people speaks English.

I grew up with four distinctive season and winter is a special time of the year in Quebec when all the trees loose their leaves, and the snow surrounds us, lots of it… I have fond memories of sliding in the snow for hours till my hands and feet were frozen.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

After 24 years of winter, I moved to Port Vila for the exoticism of the place, to discover the beach, the blue clear water and the warm ocean. When I started universities in Montreal, Canada, I met people from around the world and I wanted to travel and discover the world. I knew I would not stay where I was, I caught the travelit desease!

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

I like to do Sports, running, swimming , I am trying to defeat time by keeping good sport habits. I like to play game with my kids, in my family we all like to win the game!

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Personally, I would love to travel and continue discovering new countries , new culture, discover the beautiful nature in the world. Professionally, I like to share knowledge with my colleagues, and one day perhaps I could take more time to teach accounting to young people in this country.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

The smile of Ni-Vanuatu and the kindness of people, and the authentic scenery of the islands.

Marie Eve - AJC team

Get to know Diana Salwai better


Diana Salwai - AJC team

Diana Salwai is Accountant & Receptionist at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ? 

I’m from Vanuatu and specifically from Pentecost Island and living in Port Vila which is the capital of the country. I love my Island because it is the place that I was born, grew up and started going to school.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I moved to Port Vila to continue my studies at Montmartre Secondary School.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

– Cooking: My best hobbies in my life. I love cooking homemade meals because they contain less fat and healthy and very nutritious. Homemade salad dressing, cooking hot breakfast, make stock of ingredients, doing pies and many more….

– Travel: I also love travelling to see different types of cultures around the world.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Professionally: I will be looking for opportunities to expand my role to work towards my goal.

Personally: Being or becoming a chef with more technique or more perfect!

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

The Best Smiling Country in the World!

Diana Salwai on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Diana Salwai

Diana Salwai - AJC Vanuatu

Get to know Damien Mullins better


Damien Mullins. AJC Vanuatu

Damien Mullins is Senior Audit and Accounting Manager at AJC.

We asked him 5 questions to get to know him better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I grew up in Canberra, the national capital of Australia. Canberra is known for its bushland environment. Meaning there are lots of nice forests and mountains to explore.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I first came to Port Vila in 2002 to work at another accounting firm before moving back to Australia in 2004. In 2010 my wife and I decided we wanted to move back to Vanuatu as we still had lots of friends living here and it was a nice place to raise our young children.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

Watching movies, playing cricket (though not very well!), spending quality time with my family and catching up with friends on the weekend.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

I have no idea! The world is changing rapidly and new technologies are continually being introduced. So I think that many of us will find our jobs to be a lot different to what they are now. Particularly with the introduction of automation and AI.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

The lifestyle and living in a small community where you are always bumping into people you know. In Vanuatu you don’t have to spend hours each week commuting to and from work. There are lots of nice beaches and waterfalls close by. Travelling to the other islands is also interesting, especially when you can go and climb an active volcano.

Damien Mullins on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Damien Mullins


Get to know Chloe Rolland better


Chloe Rolland. Team AJC

Chloe Rolland is Accountant at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I come from the village of Erakor, Efate, Vanuatu. Vanuatu will always have a special place in my heart since all my childhood memories were made here and most of my families live here. One of my best memory would be when my family and I went to Etmat beach at Erakor to gather around a campfire during Easter holidays.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ? 

I was born and I grew up in Port-Vila. Proud Ni-van here.😊

3. What are your favorite hobbies ? 

My favorite hobbies are:

  • Watching and playing (for fun) football, basketball and volleyball
  • Listening to music
  • Spending time with my friends and the people I care for
  • Discovering new places (traveling)
  • Cooking, baking, and especially eating tasty meals
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

Professionally: In 5 or 10 years’ time, I see myself as a qualified and experienced senior accountant.

Personally: I see myself as an independent person, who is capable of fulfilling her goals. Meaning by then have my own house, my own car, start a family and maybe even have a small business. Moreover, especially be able to travel all around the world.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

Ni-Vanuatu are smiling and friendly people.

There is so many beautiful places to discover in the country: different islands, volcanoes, waterfalls, beaches, cultures… Even I haven’t discovered every islands in my beautiful country and I hope some days I can finally say I have.

Catherine Chloe on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Chloe Rolland

Chloe Rolland

Get to know Annick Bonnier Roy better


Annick Bonnier Roy. Team AJC

Annick Bonnier Roy is Accountant at AJC.

We asked her 5 questions to get to know her better.

1. Where do you come from ?

I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal in Canada. My fondest memories are when I spent days in the snow, whether it was snowboarding or just playing in the snow when I was little and drinking hot chocolate to warm up afterwards. Also, on hot summer days to be camping and swimming in the lakes of Quebec.

2. Why did you move to Port Vila ?

I have always dreamed of living by the ocean or on an island. I decided to take this opportunity in order to live an experience as much professional as personal. I wanted to live fully and it was the perfect time in my life.

3. What are your favorite hobbies ?

My favorite hobbies are physical activities, whether it’s running, surfing, hiking, snowboarding (when I was in Quebec). Etc

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years ?

In 5 or 10 years, I see myself having a family and having a small business eg a small cafe / shop.

5. What do you like the most in Vanuatu ?

The nature as well as the welcoming of people.

Annick Bonnier Roy on Linkedin

Professional Profil of Annick Bonnier Roy