ADB & Australia Help Vanuatu Improve Urban Development

PORT VILA, VANUATU — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Government are helping the Government of Vanuatu achieve sustainable urban development through improved access to sanitation, drainage facilities and roads.

Loan and grant agreements were signed for the Port Vila Urban Development Project. Vanuatu's Minister of Finance and Economic Management Charlot Salwai, Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Australia. The Australian High Commissioner, Mr Jeremy Bruer, participated in the signing ceremony.

“The Vanuatu Government welcomes the assistance of the Asian Development Bank and the Australian Government to undertake the most significant investment in the national capital since independence,” said Charlot Salwai from the Government of Vanuatu.

Port Vila is the commercial and tourist center of the country, generating almost two thirds of national GDP. The current poor state of the capital’s drainage, road and sanitation infrastructure are having a negative impact on Vanuatu’s ability to attract and retain commercial and tourist related investment. The deteriorating condition of this critical infrastructure is also leading to increasing public health concerns, environmental degradation and poorer quality of life of Port Vila residents and visitors.

“Working with the governments of Vanuatu and Australia, we look forward to introducing improved access to basic services, such as sanitation, drainage facilities and improved roads to Port Vila - the largest population center and main commercial hub of Vanuatu,” said Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of the Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Australia.

Increasing urbanization is putting unprecedented pressure on the infrastructure of the nation’s capital, the population of which has increased almost 400% since independence in 1980.

ADB will provide a loan of $5 million from its Special Funds resources. The Government of Vanuatu will contribute counterpart funding of $3.10 million, together with a significant Australian contribution.