20 Aug 2008

Australia signs new aid partnerships with PNG and Samoa

8:58 pm on 20 August 2008

Australia has signed aid agreements with Papua New Guinea and Samoa that are designed to herald a new approach towards funding given to Pacific countries.

The so-called Partnerships for Development will reward countries only after they meet detailed commitments that are designed to improve their nations.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today signed the first agreements at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders' meeting in Niue this week.

He said most Pacific nations were not on track to meet key United Nations development goals, and the new funding arrangements were needed to help achieve them.

The Partnership with Papua New Guinea aims to encourage the country to provide better access to markets and services, faster progress towards universal education, improved health outcomes, and better public administration.

Because Samoa is one of the few countries that is on track to meet UN goals the agreement with that country requires more developed commitments, including private sector-led growth and employment, economic integration and strengthened law and justice agencies.