Development needs for the country have been identified by the government which the Asian Development Bank is looking to assist in.
A team from the Asian Development Bank is currently on the island meeting stakeholders from government and the private sector. Productive discussions have been held across a whole range of development issues relating to infrastructure, education, health and social welfare as well as central government issues around financial and project management.
The visit by the three member team follows the ADB’s Board of Governors approval of Niue as the bank’s latest member.
“Niue is quite different from some of our other pacific member countries, we’ve been working in the Pacific for just over 15 years now and I’m very glad that we have a new country to work with but it’s really important to understand the context of the country’s development and its specific issues it faces because every country needs a very much tailored approach to supporting their development.” said Emma Veve – ADB’s Director for Social sectors and Public Sector Management Division
The ADB team has met with the Premier and government officials earlier this week.
“We had a really productive meeting with Premier Talagi when we first arrived and it was very useful with him very clearly setting out his strategic vision for Niue where he saw the growth potential in the country and also where he saw the development needs and in particular the drivers in joining ADB clearly Niue has watched ADB operate around the region for a number of years but why become a member now, I think it was fairly clear Niue has been growing quite strongly recently , it’s got a good set of development partners who its worked with a number of years but the ADB brings in a development banking perspective which means we do look at things in terms of financial returns that would do good for the country to focus on and prioritize, we can help countries think it through with what project needs, investment needs it has across all donors.”
“I think the issues that Niue faces are things we’re already working on in the region but we just need to think of how to tailor the approach to Niue. Clearly central government issues around financial management, strengthening accounting skills, project management skills, all of that is really important but so as improving the environment, for the private sector because with tourism you need the private sector to be there in helping tourism grow and be providing things for tourists to do once they’re here, so creating stronger laws, helping the private sector access finance for example is quite critical.” said Veve
The financial institution assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.
“Were a development bank and the development comes before the bank and we do a lot more than just lending money to countries. So what we’re focused on while we’re here this week is talking about technical assistance which is grant financed, its support for small scale project activities typically less than a million dollars which is quite substantial in Niue. What we might as a bank call small scale isn’t necessarily small scale for Niue so I think there are quite a lot of things we can do there. The ADB does have a process for determining what kinds of funds countries can access and over time as Niue feels more comfortable in working with us we’ll start to work through that process with Niue”
Niue is ADB’s 68th overall member and 49th from the Asia and Pacific region.