On July 8, 2013, American Samoa Governor Lolo M. Moliga issued Executive Order No. 014-2013 (EO)1, commissioning a 16 member task force (Territorial Economic Development Implementation Task Force or “Task Force”) representing stakeholders in the public and private sectors, whose primary mission was to prepare an economic development implementation plan for American Samoa.2 Upon its completion the plan would be submitted to the Territorial Planning Commission for review and approval prior to it being recommended to the Governor and Legislature in accordance with the process set out in A.S.C.A. 10.0102(f). The final economic plan is a comprehensive platform for the Territory of American Samoa entitled, “Economic Development Implementation Plan for American Samoa Fiscal Years 2014 – 2017” (EDIPAS).
The Task Force followed the methodology suggested in the EO when preparing the EDIPAS. This entailed reviewing accumulated studies and development plans for various economic sectors to identify actionable strategies and projects still relevant and viable to pursue in the 21st century global, regional, and domestic economies. Where formal studies and development plans were non-existent for specific locations, and current circumstances compelled the development of goals and actions, (such as was the case with Swains Island), these were gleaned from interviews with person(s) having firsthand knowledge and experience with the subject focus area. The Task Force disseminated the draft EDIPAS to lead implementing agencies to take into consideration current ongoing projects, to leverage existing projects with recommended projects for funding and phased in realistic time tables, and to maximize joint agency partnerships and resources.
The EDIPAS is divided into seven focus areas: Transportation Services and Infrastructure, New Business and Industry, Federal Government Constraints and Business Climate, Agriculture, Tourism, Fisheries, and Workforce Development. Goals for each of these seven focus areas provide needed context for action. The goals and actions were both determined to be relevant and achievable according to priorities. These goals and actions are targeted for special attention through the year 2017 because of their high potential for significant trickle down economic benefit or their chain reactive affect in bolstering the local economy.
The EDIPAS is a living document and is prioritized as funding becomes available. The implementation of the EDIPAS will be led by a core EDIPAS Task Force subcommittee with staff housed in the Department of Commerce specifically dedicated to the EDIPAS implementation. Each of the seven areas identifies lead and supportive agencies to assist in implementation, potential funding sources, and a set of performance metrics to gauge implementation success. The performance metrics are critical to tracking the collective success of the various recommended actions, their impacts, and the potential return on investment. The reader is referred often to performance measures already stated in studies and in master plans which are referenced where such plans exist. Where no planning document exists, the Task Force will determine goals and actions by other means. Performance metrics are either stated as TBA (to be announced) meaning supplementation of the metrics will be forthcoming or UCA (upon completion of the action), in which the action itself is its own measure of success. The TBA metrics will need to be established by the EDIPAS Task Force with the lead implementers.
The EDIPAS will serve as the Territory’s overarching economic development plan for FY 2014 -2017. The document endeavors to be an implementation plan around which both the public and private sectors can coordinate and supplement their developmental efforts as we share information and work together in order to contribute to the overall growth of American Samoa’s economy.