MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Fiji today signed a $100 million loan agreement for a project to improve the safety and durability of the country’s land and maritime transport infrastructure.
The transport loan, approved earlier by ADB’s Board of Directors, marks the start of ADB’s new 5-year Country Partnership Strategy with Fiji for 2014-2018.
The Transport Infrastructure Investment Sector Project will improve access to markets, schools, and clinics and boost services for rural communities. The project will finance civil works to repair and upgrade existing roads, bridges, and rural jetties, as well as making safety improvements to selected roads and bridges. A key focus will be on building climate resilient infrastructure.
Signing the loan agreement were Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Finance, Public Enterprises, and Public Service Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum; and the Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Sub-Regional Office based in Fiji, Robert Jauncey. Fiji’s Minister for Infrastructure, Pio Tikoduadua, and the head of the Fiji Road Authority, Neil Cook, witnessed the signing.
“This new loan and Country Partnership Strategy will build on ADB’s comparative advantages in providing both knowledge and financing to support the Government of Fiji’s development strategy and priorities,” said Mr. Jauncey.
The government will contribute $11 million to the project, which will be implemented over 5 years. In addition to ADB financing, a planned World Bank loan for the project will be considered by its Board in early 2015.
“The Government of Fiji is pleased to be working with ADB to boost our transport infrastructure investment,” said Mr. Khaiyum. “It is a partnership that will develop inclusive and sustainable infrastructure.”
Under the new strategic partnership, ADB will provide Fiji with up to $350 million to support the country’s development agenda. Through its ordinary capital resources, ADB is able to offer low-cost financing for Fiji. In addition, ADB will provide almost $8 million in grants to finance technical assistance over the same period.
At the request of the government, planned ADB engagement under the strategy will also include assistance in 2015 to improve water and sanitation for 330,000 people, including many who live in peri-urban areas around the main Suva-Nausori corridor.
Along with its public sector assistance, ADB will also provide commercial financing to private investors in order to encourage new private investments in energy and infrastructure service delivery. This is consistent with the priorities outlined in the Government of Fiji’s 2015 Budget.
Since Fiji joined ADB in 1970, it has received $317 million in loans and $27 million in technical assistance, with 45% of the total going to the transport sector. This sector contributes an annual average of 12% of the country’s gross domestic product.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.