MANILA, PHILIPPINES (15 December 2022) — Economic growth in the Pacific will rebound in 2022–2023, according to the latest issue of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Economic Monitor (PEM) launched today.

Growth for the subregion is projected to be 5.3% in 2022 and 4.8% in 2023, partly fueled by stronger-than-expected tourism activity in Fiji and a recovery in Papua New Guinea’s minerals sector. The PEM says the positive outlook masks economic challenges in the subregion, including the impact of the volcanic eruption in Tonga in January; slower-than-expected tourism recovery in Palau; and rising inflation due to volatile international prices. 

“While modest recovery is expected for the subregion, Pacific economies cannot be complacent,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “Now is the time to strengthen social protection systems to help build resilience to future economic shocks.”

This issue of the PEM explores ways Pacific countries could improve social protection systems despite constrained fiscal resources, to help address long-standing development concerns and boost resilience to further shocks. Country-specific articles cover different aspects of social protection, including food security, social insurance schemes, youth and overseas employment, and protection of vulnerable groups.

The PEM’s policy briefs examine key issues on social protection, which has critical implications for the Pacific’s broader economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. An article based on a forthcoming ADB publication, The Social Protection Indicator for the Pacific–Tracking Development in Social Protection, highlights the significant challenges and unique opportunities to channel the impacts of the pandemic into resilience-building strategies. A policy brief contributed by an Australian government initiative, Partnerships for Social Protection, examines the history of social protection in the Pacific and how governments can sustainably finance their social protection systems. A contribution from the International Labour Organization makes the case for universal access to comprehensive, adapted, and sustainable social protection systems.

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.

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