WELLINGTON, Jan 28, 2020, RNZ. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is investing more than $US2 billion over a five-year period to help Pacific countries transition to renewable energy production and to develop sustainable transport. The bank has made $1b available in concessionary loans and grants to help the Pacific with sustainable transport projects, Radio New Zealand reported.
Having begun in 2017, the bank is helping with 15 key projects which are due for completion by the end of the year.
Countries work with the bank to identify transport needs and establish their abilities to sustain debt or whether they qualify for grants. The bank looks at land, air and sea transport projects.
Its Pacific transport specialist, Juan Jimenez, said resilient international ports – able to withstand the onslaught of climate change and natural disaster – were the focus for Samoa and Tonga.
“In countries like Tuvalu and Kiribati, we’re working to improve the domestic connectivity in these remote outer islands. And this is by building jetties, by building a small wharf so people can [have] access and they can transfer their personal goods or construction materials or whatever they need.”
The ADB is also investing $1b on renewable energy in the Pacific in the 2019-2021 period.
The bank aims to help reduce the reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels.
The ADB’s Pacific department energy director said it delivered about $270m of the funding last year – including on a variety of solar generation and battery storage projects.
Olly Norojono said that included $22m in Nauru, $15m in the Federated States of Micronesia and $6m in Tuvalu.
However, he said there was a bigger project spend last year – more than $200m.
“This is of course for a hydro-power project in Solomon Islands. So these are four projects that [were] approved for 2019 and those agreements have been signed by the respective governments.”
Mr Norojono said the project spend was on track for completion by 2021.
The ADB is an Asia regional development organisation dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific.