Nauru and ADB
ADB supports Nauru in the completion of the Aiwo Port and a solar power system; preparing an urban development project; and strengthening reforms in public sector management, state-owned enterprises, and social protection.
As a single island measuring only 21 square kilometers, Nauru faces the challenge of developing new sources of economic growth amid significant resource constraints. The Government of Nauru’s income derives mainly from a regional processing center for asylum seekers, and revenues from selling fishing licenses.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and associated trade and travel disruptions have affected Nauru’s supply chains, compounding challenges the country already faced because of its small size, distance from markets, and import dependence.
ADB has been supporting Nauru since 1991, and cooperation has focused on improving fiscal sustainability, critical infrastructure, and service delivery.
To date, ADB has committed 24 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $109.4 million to Nauru. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Nauru amount to $43.98 million. These were financed by regular ordinary capital resources, the Asian Development Fund, and other special funds. ADB’s ongoing sovereign portfolio in Nauru includes 4 grants worth $63.3 million.
ADB’s recent development efforts in Nauru have helped the government address the country’s considerable infrastructure needs, improve the delivery of essential services, strengthen fiscal sustainability, and improve the performance of state-owned enterprises.
The Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Connectivity Project is transforming the largely inoperable Aiwo boat harbor into Nauru’s first fully functioning international, climate-resilient port. The project is cofinanced by the Green Climate Fund and the Government of Australia, while the Government of Japan is providing equipment to support efficient operations. Pandemic-induced travel restrictions slowed implementation progress, but the port became operational in 2022 and is scheduled for completion in 2023. A technical assistance project is supporting institutional reforms to strengthen the Nauru Maritime and Port Authority’s capacity.
The Sustainable Urban Development Project aims to strengthen water supply, sanitation, and solid waste management, and to establish improved urban planning capacity in the country. ADB approved the project readiness financing of $5 million in 2021.
To support Nauru’s transition toward sustainable energy, the $22-million Solar Power Development Project is financing a solar power plant and battery storage system, and is strengthening the capacity of the Nauru Utility Corporation.
Through the planned Improving Fiscal Sustainability Program, ADB will help the Government of Nauru strengthen genderresponsive fiscal sustainability by implementing policy and institutional reforms to enhance fiscal and debt management, the governance of state-owned enterprises, social protection systems, and gender equality.
Operational challenges. Nauru’s geographic conditions and narrow economy impede donor support and inclusive development. The country’s small size and remoteness raise the cost of providing public infrastructure and services and limit economies of scale. At the same time, Nauru has a narrow economic base and is heavily reliant on imports, leading to high-cost structures.
ADB’s development approach in Nauru emphasizes the need for a consultative and flexible response, long-term and focused engagement, and the importance of capacity development. ADB provides technical assistance and coordinates closely with development partners to support national reforms and capacity building.
ADB has supported the Nauru Bureau of Statistics in strengthening governance and enhancing their capacity to produce economic data. This enables Nauru to utilize a wider evidence base when making future policy reforms and engaging in strategic decision-making. The ADB-supported Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility is also helping the government to develop national building codes that will incorporate climate resilience considerations.
ADB Projects in Nauru Project data sheets for loans, grants, TAs
Number of Shares Held
426 (0.004% of total shares)
39,540 (0.297% of total membership, 0.457% of total regional membership)
*Overall capital subscription
*Paid-in capital subscription
* United States dollar figures are valued at rate as of 31 December 2022.
ADB Governor: Martin Hunt MP
ADB Alternate Governor: John Petersen
ADB Director: Rachel Thompson (Australia)
ADB Alternate Director: David Cavanough (Australia)
ADB Director’s Advisor: Sophak Chea (Cambodia)
Financing partnerships enable ADB’s financing partner governments or their agencies, multilateral financing institutions, and private organizations to participate in financing ADB projects. The additional funds provided may be in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and nonsovereign cofinancing.
Cumulative cofinancing commitments in Nauru:
ADB will continue to support Nauru with investments that improve transport and renewable energy infrastructure and services. ADB is also preparing an urban development project, and will continue to support policy reforms to strengthen state-owned enterprise governance and fiscal sustainability.
Technical support through ADB’s country and regional programs will continue to provide flexible and responsive assistance to meet Nauru’s development goals to support a more sustainable growth trajectory.
Last updated: 3 May 2023
Pacific Liaison Coordination Office
Regional Director: Shane Rosenthal
45 Clarence St, Level 20
Sydney 2000, NSW, Australia
Tel: +61 2 8270 9444
Fax: +61 2 8270 9445
Nauru Pacific Country Office
Yaren District, NRU68
Republic of Nauru
Department of Finance and Sustainable Development
Government Offices, Yaren District
Tel: +674 444 3133/444 3703
Fax: +674 444 3125/444 3199
ADB announced $1.53 million in grants from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund to help finance the response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Tuvalu. Nauru will receive $320,000, which will enable the country to kickstart their disaster response plans.
Growth in Nauru is forecast to slow to 0.4% in FY2020 and recover to 1.1% in FY2021. This forecast assumes that Regional Processing Centre in Nauru (RPC) activity continues to moderate and that phosphate exports remain weak, while construction on a new seaport provides follow-on benefits to local services.
Nauru’s new port, set for completion in 2021, will make imports and exports cheaper, quicker, and safer.
Related: Q&A: How a New Port is Building Skills and Knowledge in Nauru
Construction has begun on a new port in Nauru, which will one day make imports safer, easier, and cheaper for the Pacific island nation. But a new port needs workers who know how to operate it. And that training—in key areas such as maritime safety, stevedoring, and equipment maintenance—has already begun.