TARAWA, KIRIBATI (29 November 2018) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $2.5 million policy-based grant to support the second subprogram of the government-led Kiribati Strengthening Economic Management Reform Program.
“Subprogram 2 continues the good reforms achieved in subprogram 1 by focusing on the stated priorities of the government and providing support to achieve their reform program,” said ADB Principal Public Management Specialist for the Pacific Ms. Pamela Wyatt.
Apart from the $2.5 million grant sourced from ADB’s Special Funds resources, the World Bank and the governments of Australia and New Zealand are also supporting the implementation of the program’s reforms.
Comprised of 33 islands spread over 5 million square kilometers of ocean, Kiribati is one of the most remote and geographically dispersed countries in the world. The capital Tarawa is about 4,000 kilometers from the major trade markets of Australia, Hawaii, and New Zealand. The extreme remoteness and large dispersion create major challenges for service delivery. Private sector development has been constrained by high business, investment, and connectivity costs.
With increased revenues from fisheries licenses, Kiribati has the opportunity to both ensure quality basic services to their population while saving for future generations. The reform program seeks to improve the management of public finances, assets, and liabilities, while enhancing the environment for the public sector. To achieve this, the government has strengthened the management of Kiribati’s sovereign wealth fund, improved cash management and auditing of state-owned enterprises, and is addressing weaknesses in the public investment cycle.
By approving water tariffs, the government has been able to expand uninterrupted access to piped water at two pilot sites. Women and girls will greatly benefit by reducing the time spent fetching water and will indirectly improve their health.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.