FUNAFUTI, TUVALU (11 April 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Tuvalu today signed an $11.8 million grant to fund the improvement of Tuvalu’s outer island ports, making the transfer of people and the loading and offloading of goods safer and more efficient.
Maatia Toafa, Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Economic Development, and Shigehiko Muramoto, Unit Head for Project Administration at ADB’s Pacific Department, signed the grant for the Outer Island Maritime Infrastructure Project at a ceremony in Vaiaku, Funafuti.
“The Government of Tuvalu places a very high priority on improving access to the outer islands, which will drive economic development — especially local fisheries and tourism — and improve peoples’ livelihoods and safety,” said Deputy Prime Minister Toafa.
The government has prioritized Nukulaelae as the first island for the construction of small-scale maritime port facilities, followed by minor rehabilitation of boat ramps at Nanumaga and Niutao. Further development of the outer island ports will proceed in stages in line with a long-term transport master plan. ADB will support this work and will engage other partners to extend the project to additional islands.
"ADB is responding to a critical national need,” said Mr. Muramoto. “Currently, there is no docking facility for the ships in the outer islands, so passengers and cargo must be transferred to the shore or the dock by small workboats maneuvering through narrow channels, a laborious and dangerous task, especially during bad weather. The Outer Island Maritime Infrastructure Project will change this."
A contract for the Nukulaelae port construction is expected to be awarded by August 2017 with construction estimated to be completed within 18 months.
The grant includes $0.5 million in cofinancing from the Global Environment Facility. The Government of Tuvalu will contribute an additional $1.5 million to the project.
Since Tuvalu joined ADB in 1993, it has received 3 loans totaling $7.8 million, 4 grants totaling $19.4 million, and more than 20 technical assistance projects valued at $7.9 million in total. ADB assistance has largely supported public sector management, education, and maritime transport sectors.
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, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.