Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has welcomed the expanded field presence of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Solomon Islands.
He said the ADB’s expansion of its field presence marks the beginning of a much bigger engagement between the institution and the country.
The Prime Minister made the remarks in Honiara last week at the inauguration of ADB’s expanded mission in the country and celebration of the institutions 50th anniversary of existence.
He said, “Since ADB’s establishment on the 19th of December 1966, it remained committed to its motto of ‘Fighting Poverty in Asia and the Pacific,” adding that, “Today, after years of operation in Solomon Islands, I am so pleased that ADB is now expanding its program of operations in Solomon Islands to new heights. ADB first opened a Development Coordination Office in Honiara on the 10th of November 2008.
The Prime Minister said ADB has made a huge contribution to improving the economic status of many countries, including Solomon Islands and to Solomon Islands specifically, the ADB has been a very important development partner even before it attained nationhood in 1978.
“Since Solomon Islands joined ADB in 1973, the country has received over $275 Million US dollars in loans, grants, and technical assistance.
“With a widely dispersed population over many islands, the transport sector has been a key development priority for the Government and ADB in Solomon Islands. ADB initially focused on roads and related infrastructure, and more recently maritime transport.
“ADB supports the Government’s National Transport Plan, which calls for integrated planning, environmental and social sustainability, and an infrastructure base that is resilient to natural disasters and climate change.
“In addition to transport, ADB’s focus on energy, private sector development, public sector management, and urban development remains relevant in the context of Government priorities. In addition, ADB is providing financing for the University of South Pacific 4th Campus development in Honiara.”
The Prime Minister said what he has enumerated speaks volumes of the work of ADB in Solomon Islands over the years and on behalf of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government and people of Solomon Islands, he must commend the institution.
He said with the expanded staff presence of the ADB in Solomon Islands, ADB will work more closely with the Solomon Islands Government and related stakeholders on project implementation to achieve development results for the people of Solomon Islands.
Within that context, the Prime Minister said he is pleased to note that ADB is working closely with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development on transport infrastructure, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Employment on private sector development, Ministry of Planning and Aid Coordination on development strategy and the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification on renewable Energy.
He said he is also pleased to note that the ADB country programme in Solomon Islands is closely coordinated with other development partners, including Australia, the European Union, New Zealand, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and World Bank.
The Prime Minister added that ADB’s expanded presence in the Solomon Islands will allow even closer coordination with development partners.