21 Jun 2004

The ADB takes a bigger Pacific role

8:26 pm on 21 June 2004

The Asian Development Bank says its new office in Fiji is part of a strategic plan to give it a bigger footprint in the Pacific.

It has opened a Sub-Regional Office in Suva to provide assistance to Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu.

Until now, the ADB has been providing loans and technical assistance from its Manila headquarters.

But the Bank's vice president Joseph Eichenberger says it has an important leadership role which is appreciated by the countries of the Pacific.

He says they have an additional 50 million US dollars or more available for concessional loans and can also provide lending at very favourable market rates for amounts well beyond that.

But Mr Eichenberger says it's not free money.

"the question for us going ahead will be ensuring that our lending is very carefully targetted at; one, things that the countries themselves want and are committed to; and two activities or policy reforms that will thenmselve help generate greater economic vibrancy with which to make the necessary repayments on the loan"