Build­ing Solid Foun­da­tions and Re­silience for the Econ­omy

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - MARAIA VULA and ADB

Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank has com­mit­ted US$593 mil­lion (FJ$1.2bn) of as­sis­tance to Fiji since it joined the bank in 1970.

In a state­ment re­leased by ADB, it said since 2014, it has helped the gov­ern­ment mo­bilise large fi­nanc­ing pack­ages for in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing con­ces­sional funds from de­vel­op­ment part­ners such as the Green Cli­mate Fund. “On­go­ing ADB projects in­clude the US$100m (FJ$212m) Trans­port In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Sec­tor Pro­ject, the US$42m (FJ$89m) Fiji Ur­ban Wa­ter Sup­ply and Wastew­a­ter Man­age­ment In­vest­ment Pro­gramme, the US$15m (FJ$31m) Sus­tained Pri­vate Sec­tor-Led Growth Re­form Pro­gramme, and the US$50 mil­lion Emer­gency As­sis­tance for Re­cov­ery from Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston.

“The Sus­tained Pri­vate Sec­tor-Led Growth Re­form Pro­gramme is help­ing the gov­ern­ment re­bal­ance the econ­omy from its present fo­cus on pub­lic in­vest­ment to­wards greater pri­vate in­vest­ment and pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion. “The pro­gramme sup­ports im­prove­ments in pub­lic fi­nan­cial man­age­ment; the pol­icy, le­gal, and in­sti­tu­tional frame­work for state-owned en­ter­prises and pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships; and the busi­ness and in­vest­ment cli­mate. “The gov­ern­ment and ADB are now pre­par­ing a new Coun­try Part­ner­ship Strat­egy (CPS) to guide joint ef­forts in 2019-2023,” the state­ment said. “The CPS will sup­port the gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan and is ex­pected to pri­ori­tise ac­tions to pro­mote pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment and growth, broaden ac­cess to qual­ity so­cial ser­vices and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties, and build re­silience and re­duce eco­nomic volatil­ity, in­clud­ing through in­vest­ments in cli­mate change and dis­as­ter-re­silient in­fra­struc­ture as­sets.”

ADB ex­pects to in­vest ap­prox­i­mately US$280m (FJ$594m) in Fiji in 20192020.

Ma­jor planned projects

Ma­jor planned projects in­clude a loan to ex­pand sew­er­age in­fra­struc­ture in Suva and pol­icy-based loans to im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lic sec­tor man­age­ment. ADB has al­ready started prepa­ra­tion of a Nadi River flood pro­tec­tion pro­ject, which is ex­pected to be co­fi­nanced with the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency, or JICA.

The pro­ject will pro­tect Nadi and sur­round­ing ar­eas—a vi­tal hub for lo­gis­tics and tourism in the re­gion—from fre­quent flood­ing. ADB will also con­tinue to mo­bilise co­fi­nanc­ing from de­vel­op­ment part­ners, such as the Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank and the World Bank.

ADB pres­ence

ADB is build­ing its pres­ence in 11 Pa­cific is­land coun­tries to in­crease the im­pact of its grow­ing pro­gramme of as­sis­tance. The ex­pan­sion will in­volve the con­ver­sion of four ex­tended mis­sions— Samoa, Solomon Is­lands, Tonga, and Van­u­atu—into coun­try of­fices, and the es­tab­lish­ment of seven new coun­try of­fices in the Cook Is­lands, the Fed­er­ated States of Mi­crone­sia, Kiri­bati, the Mar­shall Is­lands, Nauru, Palau, and Tu­valu. ADB cur­rently has res­i­dent mis­sions in Pa­pua New Guinea and Ti­morLeste, a Pa­cific li­ai­son and co­or­di­na­tion of­fice in Syd­ney, and a Pa­cific sub­re­gional of­fice in Fiji.

Across the Pa­cific re­gion, ADB is sig­nif­i­cantly scal­ing up fi­nanc­ing to help de­vel­op­ing mem­ber coun­tries achieve sus­tain­able eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, while strength­en­ing cli­mate and dis­as­ter re­silience.

The vol­ume of ac­tive ADB projects in the Pa­cific has dou­bled ev­ery five years since 2005 and ex­ceeded $3 bil­lion as of end of 2018. The vol­ume of ac­tive ADB projects in the Pa­cific is ex­pected to sur­pass US$4 bil­lion (FJ$8bn) by 2020.

New part­ner­ship

ADB’s new part­ner­ship strat­egy for the coun­try will re­volve around three tenets: pro­mot­ing pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment and growth; broad­en­ing ac­cess to qual­ity ser­vices and eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties; and build­ing re­silience to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and re­duc­ing eco­nomic volatil­ity.

Be­low are ex­cerpts of an in­ter­view with Masayuki Tachi­iri, Re­gional Direc­tor of ADB’s Pa­cific Sub­re­gional Of­fice, talk­ing about the part­ner­ship be­tween ADB and Fiji.

What is the eco­nomic out­look for Fiji?

We ex­pect stable eco­nomic growth – in the past, this was around three per cent. Fiji has just formed a new gov­ern­ment, which is the same gov­ern­ment they had be­fore the elec­tions, with a cab­i­net con­sist­ing mostly of the same min­is­ters. So, we ex­pect con­tin­ued eco­nomic re­forms and eco­nomic growth to be also stable like we had in the past.

What are the is­sues fac­ing Fiji?

One of the is­sues the coun­try is fac­ing is how to pro­mote pri­vate in­vest­ments.

The pub­lic sec­tor has been driv­ing the econ­omy in re­cent years.

How­ever, pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment is cru­cial to achieve fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion and im­prove the econ­omy’s sus­tain­abil­ity. ADB is help­ing Fiji im­prove the in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment and the cru­cial in­fra­struc­ture that can cat­alyze pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment.

How is ADB as­sist­ing Fiji’s de­vel­op­ment?

ADB is pre­par­ing a new coun­try part­ner­ship strat­egy for Fiji cov­er­ing the pe­riod 2019 to 2023.

This is based on three pil­lars.

The first pil­lar is the pro­mo­tion and fa­cil­i­ta­tion of

pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ments, which I al­ready men­tioned.

The sec­ond pil­lar is the de­vel­op­ment of more in­clu­sive­ness in the coun­try’s eco­nomic agenda, which means broader ac­cess to eco­nomic and so­cial ser­vices.

The third pil­lar is about build­ing re­silience in the fis­cal sec­tor and in the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture.

Fiji is a small coun­try that is vul­ner­a­ble to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, so build­ing re­silience is very im­por­tant for the coun­try’s prospects.

In 2019, ADB will host its an­nual meet­ing in Fiji.

What is the sig­nif­i­cance of this event for Fiji and the rest of the Pa­cific?

This is a very im­por­tant event for Fiji. We ex­pect 3000 plus del­e­gates, mak­ing it one of the big­gest events in Fiji and the South Pa­cific.

It will be an op­por­tu­nity for ADB to show­case what was achieved through our co­op­er­a­tion with our part­ners in the South Pa­cific. Also, it will be an ideal fo­rum to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for fur­ther growth in the en­tire Pa­cific re­gion.

How will ADB as­sis­tance to Fiji and the rest of the Pa­cific evolve in the fu­ture?

For sure, ADB will con­tinue to pro­vide ba­sic sup­port to Fiji.

This means that build­ing in­fra­struc­ture and im­prov­ing pub­lic sec­tor man­age­ment will con­tinue.

Fur­ther on, how­ever, we will strengthen our part­ner­ships with var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the gov­ern­ment and re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions.

This will al­low us to strengthen re­gional in­te­gra­tion and co­op­er­a­tion in the South Pa­cific, which is one of the is­sues we have been work­ing on.

Among the Pa­cific is­land coun­tries, Fiji is a rel­a­tively well-de­vel­oped and ad­vanced econ­omy.

From Fiji, we will be able to work with smaller and less-de­vel­oped coun­tries from across the re­gion.

Our work in Fiji will also ben­e­fit neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

DEPTFO News

Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) Pres­i­dent Take­hiko Nakao with his team met with Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama on Jan­uary 11, 2019, to dis­cuss ways ADB can ex­pand and strengthen its part­ner­ship with Fiji. Photo:

DEPTFO News

Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) Pres­i­dent Take­hiko Nakao meets with Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama on Jan­uary 11, 2019. Photo:

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