PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday joined the Director General of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Department Xianbin Yao to inaugurate ADB’s new Extended Mission in the Solomon Islands.
“This expansion of ADB’s field presence in the Solomon Islands is the beginning of a much deeper engagement between the country and ADB,” MrSogavare said at the event.
“Together we can more rapidly respond to the development needs of the people of Solomon Islands.”
The office opening was held during ADB and the government’s joint Country Portfolio Review and Country Programming meetings which were organized to assess the overall performance of ADB operations in the Solomon Islands, evaluate progress, identify key issues affecting operations, and agree on the forward program of assistance to the country.
The ADB Extended Mission for the Solomon Islands assists the government in implementing its National Development Strategy 2016-2035 through activities outlined in ADB's Pacific Approach, including transport, renewable energy, and public sector management.
“Progress has been made in the transport, renewable energy, and public sector management sectors,” said Mr. Yao.
“Challenges remain as we continue to support broad-based economic growth, rural development, and efficient access to basic services.”
The Solomon Islands Second Road Improvement Project (SIRIP 2) exemplifies good progress the country has made in the transport sector.
Cofinanced by ADB, Australia, New Zealand Aid Programme and the European Union, SIRIP 2 was implemented across areas of Malaita, Western, Central, Isabel, Makira, and Guadalcanal provinces.
It rehabilitated 64 kilometers of provincial and secondary roads, constructed about 35 major bridges and 50 new culverts, and resealed 60,000 square meters of Honiara’s main road.
ADB continues to support the country’s National Transport Plan, which promotes increased government ownership and greater use of national systems.
Strengthening the transport sector will reduce economic isolation by improving access for people in rural and remote areas.
It will help diversify economic activity, generate productive employment, and facilitate the provision of social services.
ADB supports the country’s medium-term comprehensive economic reforms.
These focus on fiscal discipline and improving economic productivity through state-owned enterprise reforms, business law reforms, and improved access to finance.
ADB is also supporting the private sector by helping public enterprises perform better, strengthening the enabling environment for business, and expanding access to financial services for farmers and business owners.
The Solomon Islands Extended Mission joins the ADB Development Coordination Offices in the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and Tuvalu, as well as the other Extended Missions in Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
It also joins the ADB country offices in Sydney, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste in boosting ADB’s field presence to facilitate aid coordination and aid effectiveness in the Pacific region.
Since 1973, ADB has provided about $234 million in assistance to Solomon Islands comprised of 20 sovereign loans, as well as 14 grants and technical assistance amounting to $21.6 million.
In addition to direct funding, ADB has also mobilized cofinancing for the country of around $125 million for 10 investment projects, and $9.6 million for 13 technical assistance projects.
The Head of ADB’s Extended Mission in the Solomon Islands is Amila Salgado.
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.