Kiribati and ADB

ADB’s support to Kiribati focuses on maintaining fiscal sustainability; upgrading infrastructure related to water supply, transport, renewable energy, and health; and enhancing disaster resilience.

ADB's Work in Kiribati

Kiribati consists of 33 islands spread over 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean. Its economy has enjoyed sustained growth—with an economic growth of 1.5% in 2021. A further increase of 1.8% in 2022 was supported by social protection spending equivalent to 31.5% of gross domestic product.

ADB has been supporting Kiribati in building fiscal stability and upgrading infrastructure since 1974. Its engagement with Kiribati continues to focus on transformative infrastructure investments in sanitation, water supply, transport, renewable energy, and health, and policy reforms through technical assistance programs.

ADB has assisted the government in its immediate coronavirus disease (COVD-19) response measures, particularly on programs for increased social protection and health sector support.

To date, ADB has committed 62 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totaling $166.3 million to Kiribati. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Kiribati amount to $68.61 million. These were financed by concessional ordinary capital resources, the Asian Development Fund, and other special funds. ADB’s ongoing sovereign portfolio in Kiribati includes 7 grants worth $78.1 million.

ADB provided $22 million in financing from 2012 to 2020 for the South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Sector Project that helped increase access to sanitation in the city. The bank also provided $13 million for the South Tarawa Water SupplyProject in 2020—cofinanced by the Green Climate Fund and the World Bank—to provide greater access to safe water. The total investment of $61.8 million seeks to improve and increase water supplies from ground sources and rainwater harvesting and use solar-powered seawater desalination by reverse osmosis. In 2022, ADB committed additional financing of $20 million for the South Tarawa Water Supply Project, with a Global Environment Facility cofinancing of $4.6 million.

In 2020, ADB committed a $12-million grant for outer-island maritime infrastructure, including hydrographic survey, to improve the safety and resilience of interisland transport connectivity. ADB also provided $8 million for upscaling solar power generation in South Tarawa to reduce fossil fuel dependency.

ADB also committed contingent disaster financing of $8 million for Kiribati in 2020, which will improve resilience to disasters triggered by natural hazards and health emergencies. ADB committed a $1.5-million grant from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund to help Kiribati finance its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Asian Development Bank
Aerial view of Kiribati. Photo: Eric Sales/ADB


Operational challenges. Kiribati needs investment in infrastructure and faces many development challenges that far exceed its available resources. Climate change is a slow progressive threat to Kiribati, undermining the country’s national development. Its geographic isolation, internationally and internally, raises the cost of doing business and public service delivery, and has contributed to a large gap in the infrastructure needed for economic and social development. Challenges in governance, business regulation, and access to credit, due to the lack of expertise and technologies, exacerbate the developmental challenges. Kiribati is lagging most of the Pacific Island countries in health challenges, such as high infant mortality rates, and investment needs far exceed its available resources.

Knowledge Work

ADB brings added value beyond its role in project financing. It supports the Government of Kiribati on public finance and administration, climate change and disasters, state-owned enterprise performance, private sector and financial sector development, and gender equality. ADB’s flagship publications, including the Asian Development Outlook and the Pacific Economic Monitor, provide key analytical work to support decision-making.

ADB participates in joint missions with its development partners in line with the International Monetary Fund’s Article IV consultations, which feature robust discussions with the government on strategic priorities and other critical issues that require coordinated support.

ADB provides capacity development through workshops and seminars to increase access to knowledge and expertise for counterpart officials in Kiribati.


Shareholding and Voting Power

Number of Shares Held
426 (0.004% of total shares)

39,540 (0.297% of total membership, 0.457% of total regional membership)

*Overall capital subscription
$5.67 million

*Paid-in capital subscription

* United States dollar figures are valued at rate as of 31 December 2022.

ADB Governor: Teuea Toatu
ADB Alternate Governor: Koin Uriam Kiritione
ADB Director: Rachel Thompson (Australia)
ADB Alternate Director: David Cavanough (Australia)
ADB Director’s Advisor: Sophak Chea (Cambodia)

Financing Partnerships

Financing partnerships enable ADB’s financing partner governments or their agencies, multilateral financing institutions, and private organizations to participate in financing ADB projects. The additional funds provided may be in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and nonsovereign cofinancing.

Cumulative cofinancing commitments in Kiribati:

  • Sovereign cofinancing: $153.91 million for 8 investment projects and $4.64 million for 7 technical assistance projects since 1995

In 2022, Kiribati received $4.59 million grant cofinancing from the Least Developed Countries Fund for Climate Change under the Global Environment Facility for the South Tarawa Water Supply Project – Additional Financing.


Future Directions

ADB’s Pacific Approach, 2021–2025, serves as the country partnership strategy for Kiribati with objectives that leverage ADB’s Strategy 2030 and the Asian Development Fund 13 to respond to the core challenges and fragile situations in Kiribati. The approach focuses on the three-pronged strategy of preparing for and responding to shocks, delivering sustainable services, and supporting inclusive growth. ADB operations in Kiribati target improvements to Kiribati’s growth prospects and living standards, in line with the broad objectives of Kiribati’s Vision 2016–2036. ADB assistance to Kiribati will focus on long-term investments to improve water supply, outer-island maritime infrastructure, renewable energy, disaster resilience programs, and health infrastructure. ADB will continue to strengthen public sector management capacity for sound economic management and implementation of state-owned enterprise reforms.

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

Last updated: 2 May 2023


Pacific Subregional Office
Established: 2019
Regional Director: Aaron Batten
Level 5, Ra Marama Building
91 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji
Tel: +679 331 8101
Fax: +679 331 8074

Kiribati Pacific Country Office
Established: 2019
Unit 4, Tiarite Kwong Plaza
Main Street Bairiki
Tarawa, Kiribati
Tel: +686 22040 / 22041
Tel: +686 7300 4888

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
P. O. Box 67, Bairiki
Tarawa, Kiribati
Tel: +686 21809 / 21802 / 21804 / 21806
Fax: +686 21307/21089

Spotlight on the South Pacific

Ireland and ADB Helping Small Island States in the Pacific Respond to Climate Change


Ireland and ADB Helping Small Island States in the Pacific Respond to Climate Change

In an interview with ADB, Ireland’s Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, T.D., discusses the urgency of the climate change threat in the Pacific, what impact the Fund is already having on the ground, and how other partners can step up to meet this critical challenge.

Tourism-Driven Economies in the Pacific to Feel Brunt of COVID-19 Pandemic — ADB

News Release

Tourism-Driven Economies in the Pacific to Feel Brunt of COVID-19 Pandemic — ADB

The economies of the Cook Islands, Fiji, Palau, Samoa, and Vanuatu are the Pacific countries likely to feel the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by ADB released today.

Kacific1 Satellite Launch to Bring Affordable Internet to Remote Parts of Asia and Pacific

News Release

Kacific1 Satellite Launch to Bring Affordable Internet to Remote Parts of Asia and Pacific

Kacific Broadband Satellites International Limited (Kacific) has launched the Kacific1 satellite to expand high-speed broadband internet access across Asia and the Pacific. 

Effectiveness of Foreign Development Assistance in Mitigating Natural Disasters’ Impact: Case Study of Pacific Island Countries


Effectiveness of Foreign Development Assistance in Mitigating Natural Disasters’ Impact: Case Study of Pacific Island Countries

While natural disasters greatly hinder economic growth in the South Pacific region, official development assistance significantly mitigates such adverse effects.