Despite some economic expansion, American Samoa’s economy heading for decline
The American Samoa Economic Forecast (ASEF) 2019 forecasted a decrease in the real gross domestic product (GDP) of American Samoa this year through 2022. The report also estimated direct and indirect damage costs of up to $186 million across the territory caused due to the Tropical Storm Gita. The United States government and numerous international nonprofit organizations have provided millions of dollars in aid to assist in recuperating the various affected sectors of the economy.
The report provides practical insights into the local market activity and other economic trends that will be useful for the businesses and policy makers of the region. A moderate organic boost in the economy of American Samoa was observed in 2014 and 2015, as stated in the executive summary section.
The purchase and construction of Samoa Tuna Processors cannery by Tri Marine International was a major factor responsible for the economic expansion of the year but the company was forced out by the local competition bringing its operations to a complete halt and increasing the unemployment rate from 10.5% to 14.3% in 2017.
American Samoa will be receiving more support in federal funds for security purposes with $2 million through the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R) said that she was delighted with the news as it enables the viability of operations & projects that would have otherwise been too expensive. American Samoa is also eligible to apply for funds in the FY 2019 under the Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) program.
In addition, a large wind, solar and battery storage project that will remarkably refine the overall percentage of clean energy and cut the per-kilowatt-hour cost by as much as 67% was also awarded to the Canada based Archer Cleantech Inc. Along with the planned diminishing flow of funds outlined by the ASEF 2019, the project will add positively to stabilize the fiscal effects caused by the storm.