Chamber memberships spikes in ’23

Marshall Islands Chamber of Commerce representatives toured the USN Mercy hospital ship during the recently concluded Pacific Partnership visit. Photo: Eve Burns.

Majuro Chamber of Commerce achieved a membership milestone this year, with 91 businesses and individuals joining since the beginning of 2023. The surge in membership is a testament to the growing enthusiasm within the private sector, reflecting a collective understanding that fostering the development of the private sector is integral to securing a stable and prosperous future for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

“There is a real sense of excitement in the private sector,” said Chamber Vice President Jeff Tarkwon. “It seems more and more people are joining up to the idea that developing our private sector is pivotal to ensuring a stable and prosperous future for RMI.”

The Chamber made big strides this year in amplifying its impact within the community, said Chamber officials. With the dedicated efforts of its two full-time staff members and a team of part-time ‘gig workers,’ the Chamber has successfully implemented various projects aimed at enhancing private sector resilience. These initiatives have been made possible through the support of key donors such as the US Department of Commerce and the International Labor Organization, as well as through membership fees.

Randel Sylvester, who is finishing up his second term as president of the Chamber, expressed his delight. “I am blown away by the success that the Chamber has had this year,” he said. “The success is 100 percent due to the dedication and hard work of our team of full-time staff who work tirelessly to advocate for the private sector in the community, and it has paid off with people joining the chamber to make their voice heard.”

The Chamber has also solidified its presence in crucial decision-making bodies, with representatives participating in over a dozen task forces, including the National Strategic Plan, National Adaptation Plan, National Employment Policy, and National Investment Plan.

Looking ahead, the Chamber anticipates a surge in economic activity with the expected increase in Compact funding, said Sylvester. Additionally, the organization remains optimistic about addressing key concerns within the private sector, notably the need for enhanced consultation between the government, employers and workers on new labor laws.

To tackle this issue, the Chamber has secured funding from the International Labor Organization to collaborate with the government in drafting legislation for the establishment of a tripartite advisory council. This council will aim to facilitate constructive dialogue among government representatives, employers, and workers to promote a safe and prosperous future for all workers in RMI.

Jasmine Loeak-Myazoe, hired by the ILO for this initiative, is poised to contribute significantly to the drafting of this crucial legislation, which the Chamber hopes to commence following the national election.

Reflecting on the year’s achievements, Tarkwon emphasized: “This year has been a capacity-building and planning time for the Chamber. We are now waiting with hopeful hearts that the election brings us leaders who will join our 91 members and work to allow the people of RMI economic freedom through private sector development.”

For further information and inquiries: President, Majuro Chamber of Commerce email: randel.sylvester@mcsmajuro.com

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