Samoa and ADB
Beyond COVID-19 recovery, ADB assistance to Samoa will focus on energy investments, upgrading port facilities, constructing climate-resilient roads, and supporting private enterprises to create more jobs.
Samoa has two main islands—Savaii and Upolu—and several smaller ones covering 2,934 square kilometers of land. It depends on fisheries and agriculture for exports while importing most of its fuel and commodities. The combined impact of a measles outbreak in late 2019 and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 saw gross domestic product contracted by 3.3% in fiscal year 2020. Although remittances grew by 4.9%, visitor arrivals fell by 30.3% due to border closures. With border reopening still uncertain, further contraction is estimated for fiscal years 2021 (–9.2%) and 2022 (3.1%), assuming tourism restarts.
Samoa was a founding member of ADB in 1966 and has been receiving support from ADB for infrastructure development, policy reforms, and strengthening of its climate resilience. Samoa made good progress in addressing poverty, gender, health, education, and environment.
To date, ADB has committed 146 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $475.8 million to Samoa. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Samoa amount to $293 million. These were financed by concessional ordinary capital resources, the Asian Development Fund, and other special funds. ADB’s ongoing sovereign portfolio in Samoa includes 1 loan and 9 grants worth $145.4 million.
ADB assistance to Samoa focuses on land and maritime transport, health, and disaster resilience. The pandemic and measles outbreak have impacted its economy significantly. In response, ADB provided $20 million in budget support to mitigate the immediate adverse impacts of the pandemic on the citizens and business. Another $1.5 million grant was provided through the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, financed by the Government of Japan.
ADB is supporting projects to enhance the safety, security, and sustainability of the Apia port, and to upgrade Upolu’s central cross island road. In 2021, ADB committed $5 million to prepare priority land transport projects.
ADB supports private sector development through an agribusiness project that facilitates access to financing and business support services to selected agribusinesses. The project is cofinanced by the Government of Australia.
Nonsovereign operations. Total outstanding balances and undisbursed commitments of ADB’s nonsovereign transactions in Samoa as of 31 December 2021 was $0.97 million representing 0.01% of ADB’s total private sector portfolio.
Operational challenges. ADB projects in Samoa continue to be affected by geographical isolation, capacity constraints, and issues related to environment and social safeguards. A submarine internet cable, which went live in 2018, has helped overcome the challenges of remoteness through improved connectivity, while the project to improve Apia’s port will help reduce trade and transport costs.
Capacity constraints limit project implementation in Samoa, though the capacity of both the government and the overall economy is gradually improving. The COVID-19 pandemic imposed serious challenges like the impact of border closures on the tourism industry and the untimely mobilization of contractors to implement major government projects to stimulate the economy. Improved internet connectivity allowed virtual engagements with development partners to seek expert support.
In 2020, ADB committed $7.5 million for Samoa under a project to support vaccine rollout and strengthening of the health systems. As part of its COVID-19 response, ADB committed an additional $8 million in 2021.
Samoa is prone to disasters triggered by natural hazards and in 2017, ADB committed $6 million under the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program as contingent financing for early recovery, and reconstruction activities post disasters. In April 2020, ADB expanded the program to include health emergencies and Samoa drew down $2.9 million in response to the COVID-19 emergency. A new phase of the program was approved in November 2020 with a $10 million grant for Samoa.
ADB brings added value beyond its important role in project financing. In Samoa, ADB has supported economic and policy reforms—building and supplementing capacity to strengthen areas like state-owned enterprises performance, public financial management, the business enabling environment, and gender equality. ADB’s flagship publications, including the Asian Development Outlook and the Pacific Economic Monitor, provide key analytical work to support decision making.
ADB also participates in joint missions with other development partners like the International Monetary Fund Article IV missions, which foster robust discussions on strategic priorities and critical issues between domestic entities and development partners. The presence of an office in Samoa enables ADB to play a key role in regional cooperation and integration, and in development partner coordination.
ADB Projects in Samoa Project data sheets for loans, grants, TAs
Number of Shares Held
348 (0.003% of total shares)
39,462 (0.297% of total membership, 0.456% of total regional membership)
*Overall capital subscription
*Paid-in capital subscription
* United States dollar figures are valued at rate as of 31 December 2021.
ADB Governor: Mulipola Anarosa Ale Molioo
ADB Alternate Governor: Saoleitiiti Maeva Betham - Vaai
ADB Director: Arif Baharudin (Indonesia)
ADB Alternate Director: Karen Murray (New Zealand)
Financing partnerships enable ADB’s partner governments or their agencies, multilateral institutions, and private organizations to participate in ADB projects. The additional funds may be in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and nonsovereign cofinancing.
Cumulative cofinancing commitments in Samoa:
The Pacific Approach, 2021-2025 guides ADB’s operations in Samoa. The strategy focuses on building resilience against economic shocks, delivering sustainable services, and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth while recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. The strategy introduces new priority areas, including a more programmatic approach to climate change support; a deeper focus on long-term capacity support, including outposting experts on a long-term basis; increased flexibilities in procurement and contracting; and an emphasis on gender equality.
ADB will continue to help build sustainable capacity for sound economic and public sector management and support reforms for state-owned enterprises.
Last updated: 25 August 2022
Samoa Pacific Country Office
Level 7, Central Bank of Samoa Building
1 Apia City Boulevard
Tel: +685 21900/21424
Ministry of Finance
Central Bank of Samoa Building (Levels 2, 3, 4, 6, 7) Beach Road
Tel: +685 34332
Fax: +685 21312
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