Venkat Raman –
He was in Suva yesterday to discuss matters relating to the 52nd Annual General Meeting of ADB, scheduled to be held in the Fijian Capital from May 1 to May 5, 2019.
Fiji is the Current Governor of the ADB Board with Attorney General and Minister of Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum representing the country and Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Ariff Ali as the Alternate Governor.
Following meetings with Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and Mr Ali, ADB would assist Fiji’s development plans with a loan to expand sewerage infrastructure in Suva and policy-based loans to improve the business environment and public sector management, Mr Nakao said.
A Fijian Government notification said that ADB has already started preparation of a Nadi River Flood Protection Project, which is expected to be co-financed with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (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 co-financing from development partners, such as the European Investment Bank and the World Bank,” the notification said.
Since 2014, ADB has helped the Fijian 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$100 million Transport Infrastructure Investment Sector Project, US$42 million Fiji Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management Investment Programme, US$15 million Sustained Private Sector-Led Growth Reform Programme and US$50 million Emergency Assistance for Recovery from Tropical Cyclone Winston.
The Annual Meeting
Fiji will be the first Pacific developing member country to host the Annual Meeting of ADB. The Meeting is the largest gathering of the Bank and a unique opportunity for ADB Governors, government officials, the private sector, and development partners and experts to discuss critical issues and challenges facing Asia and the Pacific.
The theme of the 2019 Annual Meeting is ‘Prosperity Through Unity.’
Mr Nakao described the Annual Meeting as ‘an excellent opportunity to highlight the strength of the Fijian economy and progress across the wider Pacific region.’
“We will discuss, among others, the development of sustainable tourism and management of ocean health which are important issues not only for Fiji and other Pacific countries but also for many Asian countries,” he said.
Commending the impressive growth of the Fijian economy along with its sound fiscal management, Mr Nakao said that the country has achieved steady growth since 2010, longer than any period since it gained independence in 1970.
The average annual growth during 2010-2018 is estimated at 3.1%, he said.
“The Government has exercised prudent macroeconomic management in recent years. This has attracted new investments and created an environment in which businesses can grow and generate more jobs,” Mr Nakao said.
“ADB will continue working closely with Fiji to support the country’s efforts to achieve sustained, inclusive, private sector-led growth that brings benefits to the entire population,” he added.
Mr Bainimarama said that there was ample scope for strengthening Fiji’s partnership with ADB in the ensuing years.
“Our priorities for that partnership are clear; we will attract more investment, boost our climate resilience, continue to build confidence in our economy by increasing engagement with the private sector, continue developing a world-class civil service, and develop even greater networks of infrastructure for the benefit of Fijians everywhere. We will achieve these through accountability, transparency and good governance,” he said.
Mr Bainimarama said that Fiji’s choice of being the host of the 52nd Annual Meeting of ADB is a proud recognition “among many, of our capacity to host major international events and we look forward to showcasing Fiji’s development achievements at the meeting in Denarau this May.”
ADB in the Pacific
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, in 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 Timor-Leste, a Pacific Liaison And Coordination Office in Sydney and a Pacific Sub-Regional Office in Fiji.
- Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama with Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao in Suva on Friday, January 12, 2019
- Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao with Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Ariff Ali at a Press Conference in Suva on Friday, January 12, 2019
(Pictures from Facebook)