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Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi has acknowledged the “tremendous” contribution by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the development of Samoa.
Tuilaepa offered the acknowledgement during a meeting with the ADB President Takehiko Nakao on Tuesday, when he was in the country for a three-day visit.
Since 1966, the Bank has committed US$354.66 million (T$890m) in loans, grants and technical assistance to Samoa. The money has been spent to improve the delivery of basic social services such as clean water, modern sanitation, reliable energy, better internet connectivity, effective disaster relief, flood mitigation, wastewater infrastructure, drainage projects and much, much more.
“For more than 50 years, we have worked with ADB and together we have made progress in improving water and sanitation, establishing reliable, clean energy and better internet connectivity,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa said.
“ADB has also been a tremendous support in times of disaster as we saw in the wake of the tsunami that devastated parts of the country in 2009.
“We will continue to work with ADB and our other development partners to help deliver better basic social services to the people of Samoa.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa and President Nakao also signed an agreement establishing a permanent ADB office in Samoa. The office replaces the ADB extended mission in Samoa opened in 2016 to manage the bank’s growing operations in the country.
“Samoa is a founding member of ADB since 1966 and we have worked in close partnership to address development challenges and create new opportunities in this country,” said Nakao.
“ADB is increasing its support to Samoa and we are committed to helping the government continue to improve access to renewable energy, extend ICT connectivity, and strengthen public sector management.”
According to a statement released by the Bank, economic growth in Samoa slowed to 0.9% in the fiscal year ending 30 June 2018 following the closure of Yazaki Samoa.
Growth is expected to rebound in the current fiscal year as visitor arrivals increase and infrastructure investment expands in the lead-up to Samoa’s hosting of the Pacific Games in 2019.
“Samoa is well-placed to further expand its tourism industry, which is already a key driver of economic growth and foreign currency earning,” said Nakao. “It will be important to pursue sustainable tourism, which protect the environment, and ensure local communities to benefit.”
ADB has supported development of Samoa’s energy sector since the early 1990s. Projects co-financed with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the European Union have installed almost two-thirds of the country’s current generation capacity of 45 megawatts.
ADB, Australia, and the World Bank supported the development and operation of a submarine cable fibre-optic system linking Samoa to Fiji. The Tui Samoa cable, launched in February 2018, will provide cost-effective internet connectivity and facilitate e-health investment.
Future support will continue to focus on economic infrastructure such as power, roads, and ports, as well as public sector management. Total financing from ADF for Samoa, including resources mobilised from ADF funds allocated for regional initiatives could reach $100 million in 2019-2020. In addition, ADB will mobilise co-financing from development partners such as Australia, New Zealand, the Green Climate Fund, and the World Bank.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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