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Pacific Subregional Office (SPSO)

The SPSO serves as the focal point of ADB for programming, processing, and administering assistance in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.

ADB's Work in Samoa

ADB Membership

Joined 1966

Shareholding and Voting Power

Number of shares held:
348 (0.003% of total shares)

39,462 (0.297% of total membership, 0.456% of total regional membership)

Overall capital subscription:
$4.81 million

Paid-in capital subscription:
$0.29 million

ADB has been supporting Samoa since 1966, and the country has been making strong progress toward achieving its key development priorities.

Central Apia, the capital city of Samoa

Poverty has fallen in urban centers, child mortality has been reduced, and greater emphasis has been placed on environmental sustainability. Primary school education is now almost universal, while gender disparity in both primary and secondary education has been eliminated.

Support for Samoa’s national budget is provided by ADB, the World Bank, the governments of Australia and New Zealand, and the European Union. This support has helped improve the lives of the country’s poor, make progress on public financial management reforms, and implement systems to strengthen climate resilience.

ADB has been supporting Samoa since 1966 and has committed $190.9 million in loans, $204.4 million in grants, and $33 million in technical assistance. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Samoa amount to $258.1 million.

ADB-Supported Projects and Programs

ADB assistance to Samoa supports efforts to provide reliable and sustainable energy, safer and more efficient road and maritime transportation, better internet connectivity, and effective disaster relief.

To improve the reliability of Samoa’s energy supply, ADB financed the Power Sector Expansion Project and the Renewable Energy Development and Power Sector Rehabilitation Project. The first is a venture supported by ADB, the Government of Australia, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency. It has provided over 50% of Samoa’s installed generation capacity and introduced Cash Power, a prepayment system that helps consumers better manage electricity consumption. The project also installed battery storage to provide grid stabilization. The second project supports the rehabilitation of hydropower plants damaged during Cyclone Evan in 2012 and the construction of small hydropower plants, two of which are in the rural villages of Upolu and Savaii. In 2017, ADB signed its first nonsovereign transaction in the energy sector in the Pacific and Samoa, through a loan of up to $2 million for solar power generation. All of these investments will contribute to the Government of Samoa’s renewable energy target of 100% by the end of 2025.

Samoa is rehabilitating old hydropower plants and building new ones to achieve its target of going 100% renewable and wean off its dependence on imported fossil fuels for power generation.

ADB has helped complete a master plan for Samoa’s ports and associated infrastructure, with a project to enhance the safety, security, and sustainability of the main port in Apia committed in September 2019. The bank is also preparing a project to upgrade the central cross-island road.

ADB committed $25 million to the Samoa Submarine Cable Project. The project, jointly financed with the World Bank and the Government of Australia, connects Samoa to regional and global communication infrastructure through Fiji. The Tui-Samoa cable went live in February 2018, bringing the potential to enhance business connections and provide digital solutions in health and education.

Apia Harbor, Samoa

Samoa is highly prone to extreme weather events and natural disasters, and ADB has historically provided relief grants to the country in the wake of such disasters. In 2017, the bank committed a $6 million policy-based loan and grant for Samoa under the regional Pacific Disaster Resilience Program as contingent financing for disaster response, early recovery, and reconstruction activity.

ADB supports private sector development through the Samoa Agribusiness Business Support Project committed in 2014 with additional cofinancing from the Government of Australia in 2017. The project facilitates access to financing and business support services to selected agribusinesses.

In 2019, ADB committed the System Strengthening for Effective Coverage of New Vaccines in the Pacific Project, including a grant of $7.5 million for Samoa. This regional initiative is designed to improve overall immunization rates and support greater efficiency of primary health services in Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The Samoa AgriBusiness Support Project provides business support services and financing to agribusinesses.

Nonsovereign Operations

As a catalyst for private investments, ADB provides financial assistance to nonsovereign projects and financial intermediaries. Total commitments from ADB’s own funds (in equity and direct loans) in 2019 amounted to $3.00 billion for 38 transactions in economic and social infrastructure, the finance sector, and agribusiness. ADB also actively mobilizes cofinancing from commercial and concessional sources. In 2019, ADB mobilized $3.28 billion of long-term cofinancing and $3.69 billion of cofinancing in trade finance, microfinance, and supply chain finance programs. Total outstanding balances and commitments of nonsovereign transactions funded by ADB’s own resources stood at $13.78 billion as of 31 December 2019.

Financing Partnerships

Financing partnerships enable ADB’s development partners, governments or their agencies, multilateral financing institutions, and commercial organizations to participate in financing ADB projects. The additional funds are provided in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and other nonsovereign cofinancing such as B loans, risk transfer arrangements, parallel loans and equity, guarantee cofinancing, and cofinancing for transactions under ADB’s Trade Finance Program and Supply Chain Finance Program.

ADB began cofinancing operations in Samoa in 1984. Since then, sovereign cofinancing commitments for Samoa have amounted to $109.60 million for eight investment projects, and $2.63 million for seven technical assistance projects. Nonsovereign cofinancing for Samoa has amounted to $1.00 million for one investment project and $0.22 million for one technical assistance project.

Projects Cofinanced, 1 January 2014–31 December 2018

Operational Challenges

ADB projects in Samoa continue to be affected by high costs associated with geographic isolation, inefficiencies in state-owned enterprises (SOEs), an underdeveloped finance sector, and lack of access to secure land titles. The Samoa Submarine Cable Project has helped overcome the challenges of remoteness through improved connectivity, while the project to improve Apia’s port will help reduce trade and transport costs.

Capacity constraints have long limited project implementation in Samoa, but the capacity of both the government and the overall economy is gradually increasing. To reduce costs and improve Samoa’s business environment, the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative has designed regulatory and licensing reforms for the country. ADB has also helped improve the government’s capacity for public sector reform, particularly through the establishment of a separate ministry for SOEs.

Future Directions

ADB operations in Samoa are covered in the ADB country operations business plan, 2020–2022 for 11 small Pacific island countries, which is aligned with ADB’s Pacific Approach, 2016–2020. The business plan is targeting improvements to Samoa’s growth prospects and overall living standards and is closely aligned with the government’s Strategy for the Development of Samoa, 2017–2020.

ADB’s work in the Pacific and the partnership ADB shares with its developing member countries.

ADB future assistance to Samoa will focus on energy investments, upgrading port facilities, investments in climate-resilient roads, and business development to create more jobs. ADB will continue to help build sustainable capacity for sound economic and public sector management, and implement reforms of SOEs.

This article was originally published in the ADB and Samoa: Fact Sheet. Updated yearly, this ADB Fact Sheet provides concise information on ADB's operations in the country and contact information.

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