ADB Partnering with Australian Govt on Private Sector Development Initiative

News Release | 15 May 2006

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - ADB has strengthened its long-term commitment to the Pacific region by partnering with the Australian Government to boost a private sector development (PSD) initiative in the region.

At the launch of the Pacific 2020 Conference in Sydney last week, the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer announced a A$10 million dollar assistance over five years towards working with ADB on private sector reform programs in the Pacific. Australia's contribution will be instrumental for the establishment of the new initiative designed to enable ADB to rapidly respond to reform opportunities, leverage policy dialogue, enhance knowledge management and communication, and foster regional integration.

"Working with development partners such as the Australian Government is key to improving outreach and service delivery to the Pacific Islands," said Philip Erquiaga, Director General of ADB's Pacific Department. "Private sector development is all about creating the right environment and incentives to stimulate private sector investment in the region, giving people better access to income opportunities and basic social services."

Mr. Erquiaga added that the development challenges in the Pacific are considerable and private sector development is an essential means of addressing these. "An enabling business environment is critical for economic growth which, in turn, leads to income opportunities, better service delivery and, ultimately, prosperity," he said. "Sustainable economic growth is impossible without a strong private sector."

The new private sector initiative will focus mainly on improving the performance of state owned enterprises such as utilities and telecommunication, strengthening business laws, and improving access to finance for Pacific islanders in rural as well as urban areas.

"ADB looks forward to working with Pacific islands governments and business organizations to boost private sector reform activities," said Mr. Erquiaga. He also highlighted the importance of coordinating and cooperating closely with other development partners with a view to leveraging local engagement, resources, and expertise.