UNDER the country’s 10-year National Development Strategy for 2011-2020, Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting Solomon Islands in a number of specific projects.
They are in the area of infrastructure, public sector management, and in renewable energy.
Hayden Everett, a Senior Country Specialist of the Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office within the Asian Development Bank (ADB) based in Sydney, highlighted this in a presentation to participants of the regional business media summit here in Sydney.
He pointed out that under this support to Solomon Islands, ADB has aligned its operations with the government’s National Development Strategy for 2011-2020.
“ADB’s strategic directions concentrate in infrastructure development, which includes transport and information and communication technology (ICT), the public sector management and renewable energy.”
Speaking exclusively to the Solomon Star in Sydney, Mr Everett said that so far a number of these projects have been achieved and ongoing.
He cited the north-west Guadalcanal road and bridges, which had been completed and handed to the Solomon Islands government last year.
He also noted that ADB is helping boost students’ access to higher education through its loan to the University of the South Pacific (USP) for the construction of a new campus to be established in north-west Guadalcanal.
Under the ICT program, ADB had approved the broadband development project. The project will promote economic efficiency in the public and private sectors and create opportunities including the improved delivery of social services.
As for the support to public sector management, last year in March ADB approved the economic and financial reform program totalling $5m, to assist in strengthening the government’s implementation of policy reforms that ensure the adequate delivery of public investment and services to rural communities.
“ADB provides support for implementation of the National Development Strategy, ADB’s private sector development activities in Solomon Islands including SOE reforms and improving the business environment through company registration and secured transaction,” Mr Everett said.
Under the infrastructure component, ADB also supports the transport projects and domestic maritime scheme which aims to provide safe, reliable shipping services to rural communities.
It was highlighted during the presentation that the transport sector development project is a sector based approach which aims to strengthen transport connectivity linking rural and urban populations and reducing their economic isolation.
The country specialist also revealed that since Solomon Islands joined ADB in 1973 it had received millions of dollars through loans, grants and technical assistance.
“Solomon Islands received 17 loans worth a total of US$89.7 million (SBD$652m), nine ADB grants totalling US$72.8m (SBD$530m), and 66 technical assistance projects standing at around US$22.4million ($163m).”
Mr Everett said ADB is committed to get the projects completed on time.
And this was evident with the presence of an ADB sub-regional office in Solomon Islands since 2008 where ADB and the World Bank Group established a joint field presence in Honiara.
An ADB infrastructure specialist is also based at the office.
Office co-location provides better aid coordination for the two organisations to assist Solomon Islands in a number of major projects.
By MOFFAT MAMU