MANILA, PHILIPPINES (16 December 2021) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of the Cook Islands signed an $80 million loan agreement to help the Pacific country's economy transition from recovery to sustainable, private sector-led growth.
ADB will help the Cook Islands pursue reforms to improve public financial management and foster private sector activities. The Supporting Sustainable Recovery Program will provide an initial $40 million to meet immediate financing needs, and up to $40 million as a precautionary financing option, which will allow the government to access critical funds for public sector operations, services to vulnerable households, and private sector recovery if economic and fiscal conditions deteriorate.
“We appreciate the ongoing support provided by the Asian Development Bank during this unprecedented time,” said the Cook Islands’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mark Brown. “This program supports the government’s efforts to guard against the worst impacts of the economic downturn and position us for a strong recovery moving forward.”
These reforms will help better manage the country’s fiscal and cash position, improve tax compliance, reopen the economy, ease labor shortages, improve business registration, and promote competition.
“The program is the culmination of years of close support and collaboration with the government, as well as recent efforts to address the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “The precautionary financing option allows the Cook Islands to better manage the uncertainty surrounding the recovery and its impacts on the government’s financing needs.”
The program builds on the NZ$31.3 (around $21.49 million) COVID-19 response funding and assistance ADB provided to the Cook Islands in 2020, as well as a range of technical assistance provided to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management.
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 68 members—49 from the region.