Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to assist the country achieve its development goals.
The bank’s Pacific Department Director General Xianbin Yaomade the offer during the opening of ADB’s Extended Mission in Solomon Islands (EMSOL) office on Friday.
“We are expanding our presence in the Solomon Islands because we are here to help,” Yao stated.
“ADB has been working with the Solomon Islands for almost 44 years. I think it's fair to say that the working relationship we now share today is stronger than ever before,” he added.
“During almost 50 years of engagement we have seen significant achievements in different sectors.
“The transport sector is a shining example.
“The Solomon Islands Second Road Improvement Project exemplifies the good progress the country has made in the transport sector.
“It rehabilitated 64kms of provincial and secondary roads, constructed about 35 major bridges and 50 new culverts, and re-sealed 60,000 square kilometres of Honiara's main road.”
Yao said they are committed to strengthen their Pacific country presence and building partnerships with other Pacific Developing Member Countries and with other development partners and stakeholders.
“ADB works more closely with partners in the Pacific Region than anywhere else in the world.
“A true and lasting partnership is about being genuine to learn, nurture and grow the relationship.
“It is about being frank, honest and constructive.
“This is ADB's approach to partnerships in the Pacific.
“Trust and confidence are our utmost concern.
“The strong partnerships that we have with the Government and with other development partners have allowed us to make progress together towards improved transport infrastructure, private sector development, energy, and increasing access to financial services,” Yao highlighted.
He said he is adamant the relationship will continue to grow so that ADB can make an even larger contribution to the Government's development objectives through ADB's Extended Mission to Solomon Islands.
Head of the Extended Mission in Solomon Islands (EMSOL), Amila Salgado said they will also strengthen their dialogue with private sector, academia, and civil society.
“Our new extended physical presence in the country will help us gain a better understanding of Solomon Islands’ development needs,better align our programs to those of the Government, and deepen our cooperation with other development partners,” Salgado said.
“Through this office, ADB reaffirms our shared and long-term mission of supporting inclusive and sustainable development in Solomon Islands,” he added.
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 co-financing for the country of around $125 million for 10 investment projects, and $9.6 million for 13 technical assistance projects.
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.
By TEDDY KAFO