Jhon Y. Kwano, the owner of PAPUAmart.com as a start-up minimarket in West Papua says business in Melanesia is still done in service to the colonial masters, not to help ourselves in our regional economy. He points out for example, most of the business deals are done between Melanesian nation-state with western countries like New Zealand, Australia, Europe, China and the United States, in serving the needs and wants of the so-called “colonial powers in postmodern era”.

He continues that there was an agreement signed by Melanesian leaders to encourage business initiatives and cooperation among Melanesian business entities, across Melanesian regions. However, so far, there seems to be nothing happening. All Melanesian leaders are focusing their work and spending their energy and time on serving the needs and wants of their master colonial countries. For Kwano this is an indication that Melanesian countries are somewhat independent politically, but economically we are still under colonial control. Only until we are free from colonial influence in doing business, then we will be sure that were are independent, free from strong colonial influence.

Jhon acknowledges that Melanesia is part of the global community and cannot be isolated from global interactions and business deals, however he argues that the deals and interactions should first start among Melanesians first. He gives examples that his Cooperative, KSU Baliem Arabica based in Wamena, West Papua right now produced the Wamena Single Orign Arabica Coffee, already been sold to the USA, South Korea, Hong Kong and Europe, but never been sold to any of the Melanesian countries. Furthermore he adds New Guinea also the only producer of the Red Pandanus Oil in the world, but only Asian consumers are buying and selling this product, and never been traded among Melanesian peoples. Another obvious example is regarding Kava trade. Recently news from Vanuatu and sometime ago from Fiji reported some problems with Kava Ban with some European countries that triggered business lobby and frustration on the seller countries.

Jhon says if Kava is sold to Papua New Guinea and West Papua, then it will be more beneficial, both socially and economically. He says the biggest problem is when Melanesian leaders think about business and trade, they first off all think about colonial countries, not their own fellow Melanesian nation-states.

Kwano continues

I pray to God that Melanesian leaders, particularly current Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Vanuatu, to consider re-orientating business deals and activities among Melanesian peoples, and invite other Melanesian ministers of foreign affairs and trade to establish a Melanesian-to-Melanesian Business Policy.

West Papua under PAPUAmart.com Group companies is ready to supply any products from inside West Papua, or from Papua New Guinea as well as from Indonesia with more reasonable price to all companies in Melanesia, but we should start thinking and acting to engage Melanesian business enterprises and entrepreneurs to interact and share experiences, resources and skills.

He says that there will be no colonial countries come to us and tell us what is best for our countries and our peoples, other than ourselves realizing this and action upon the insights and wisdom from ourselves. He adds “This is a way of thinking of a free man and women, not colonised mentality.”

Compiled by RANOBA BAOA, Fiji Sun Online

Welcome to Hard Talk, where we pose questions to both top executives and budding entrepreneurs on some of the major issues involving business.

The newest magazine on shelf is fast turning heads with common A-B-C journalism questions on ‘what, why who, where and how’ the magazine emerged.

Business Melanesia is the newest magazine on the market which focuses on Melanesian leaders, top company executives with emerging entrepreneurs who deal, trade and exchange between the Melanesian region.

We believe it also provides the much-needed content which Melanesia’s business industry and leaders can turn to.
The first issue came out in November and is now the second February issue is available.

In this section, we catch up with managing editor, Stanley Simpson, no doubt a synonymous name in the media circle and multi-award winning journalist in Fiji.

He tells us more of the magazine and perhaps lay to rest most, if not all, your questions and ones we too have been asking.

Questions for Business Melanesia managing editor, Stanley Simpson:

1. Tell us about this much talked-about Business Melanesia.

The idea for Business Melanesia magazine emerged after partners from Papua New Guinea and Fiji saw the increased trade and business interaction between the two countries and throughout Melanesia, particularly under the MSG free trade agreement.
We felt it was important to highlight the developments taking place, and profile the leadership and endeavours being undertaken in the various sectors.

There is a need for an influential quality magazine that helps shape constructive and positive perspectives of Melanesia, and provides sound, critical, fair and balanced assessment of the various initiatives being undertaken.

We believe there is interest for a magazine that allows the Melanesian public and business people to:

  • l Share views with each other
  • l Read about each other
  • l Discover business opportunities
  • l Assess the various strategies being undertaken
  • l Record the lessons and experiences of business initiatives.


Having a magazine that captures these MSG efforts is a sign of our development and growth as a Melanesian society that can think on its own, have and project its own views, independently and critically assess projects, propose ideas and initiatives and share information that help our people grow and make informed opinions and decisions.

2. Who is the publisher and if you could highlight some interesting facts about him and the company?

Business Melanesia magazine is registered, published and based in Papua New Guinea with production such as editorial, graphics and marketing largely outsourced to a Fijian company, given the reasonable costs of running a business in Fiji.
Plans are also underway to set up offices, correspondents and contributors in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to make the magazine truly Melanesian.
There are challenges associated with that we need to overcome, however technology allows us to solve some of those challenges.
At the moment we acknowledge that the magazine has been PNG and Fiji-focused but that will change. The feedback we have been getting from the various countries has been overwhelmingly positive.

3. What is the magazine aiming to do?

Business Media Fiji Limited is the Fijian company that is providing much of the editorial, graphics and marketing for Business Melanesia magazine.
It also provides a range of media services and consultancies for other organisations and entities. It is made up of local ‘home grown’ media professionals.

We are not looking to compete with existing publications – but simply find our own niche.

4. What/who are the Business Melanesia’s target market and penetrate into this market?

The magazine is addressing a cross-section of the Melanesian public including entrepreneurs, managers, decision makers and business leaders. We also aim to inspire young Melanesians with success stories and profiles of leaders in various sectors.

We are looking to partner with companies that are looking to have regional coverage, to establish their brand or looking to promote their products, services and expertise across the MSG countries – as well as companies that facilitate business across the region.  We want to talk about companies that are making a meaningful contribution in their own countries that can be replicated in other MSG countries.
We are ensuring that the 400 most influential people in each MSG country from MPs, CEOs, Ministers and business leaders get to read the magazine and we are sending it to them at our own cost. The magazine is also sold in over 50 outlets throughout Melanesia.

5. How does the magazine aim to keep up with the competitive world of online media?

The Melanesian countries of the South Pacific are poised for strong economic growth and greater regional co-operation with the signing of the MSG Free Trade Agreement.

Business Melanesia magazine aims to capture this Melanesian resurgence – which could be a defining moment in the history of our countries and peoples.

There are many companies that are trying to take advantage of this new era of business opportunities – to expand or further their investment. Business Melanesia will provide information and analysis of the business environment and developments in MSG countries.

It will also facilitate their efforts to project their image across the region, or break into the various markets by highlighting their products and services – either through articles or through advertising.

Through the magazine – companies will be able to reach decision makers, customers, and potential business partners in five MSG countries.