Australia and New Zealand Funding Expansion of Solomon Islands Infrastructure

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - An ADB post-conflict emergency project to repair infrastructure in Solomon Islands is to be extended through new grants totaling US$8.5 million equivalent from Australian Aid for International Development (AusAID) and New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).

The project, for which an ADB loan of $10 million equivalent was approved in 2001, is financing the restoration of roads and bridges in Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces, where years of social conflict left vital infrastructure destroyed and the local economy devastated.

The total cost of the potential subprojects identified in the early stages of the project exceeded the loan amount and several had to be shelved, pending the availability of surplus funds.

The approved works under the present contract comprise repair and restoration of 97 km of sealed roads, 25 km of unsealed roads and repair of 14 bridges or culverts.

"The additional assistance offered by AusAID and NZAID would allow the repair and restoration of most of the shelved subprojects and those awaiting funds," says Rishi Ram Adhar, Project Administration Specialist at ADB's Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Sydney. "The total length of sealed and gravel roads to be repaired and restored will now increase to 102 km and 65 km, respectively, while the number of bridges to be tackled will increase from 14 to 51."

For the project expansion, grants will be provided by AusAID and NZAID equivalent to $2.0 million and $6.5 million, respectively, both to be administered by ADB. The project's closing date is also extended from June 2007 to end of March 2008.