The delegates include finance and development ministers, central bank governors, private sector and civil society partners and representatives of academia.
For nations in the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank is a prime source of funding for projects to better their nation’s society.
The Cook Islands has benefited from many ADB loans including funding for projects such as: The Outer Islands Telecom Project (1990), Pearl Industry Development (1994), Education Development (1995), Economic Restructure (1996), Cyclone Emergency Rehab (1997), a Waste Management Project (2001), the Avatiu Port Development (2009), Economic Recovery Support (2012), and Renewable Energy Project (2014).
Almost 75 per cent of the Cook Islands’ $140 million overseas debt is owed to the ADB. Most of the remaining debt, some 24 per cent, is owed to the Export/Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank). Chinese loans began in 2008.
Future Cook Islands projects to be funded by the ADB include disaster risk management and a loan for the undersea broadband cable.
The ADB’s mission statement says it “is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while maintaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty”.
It assists its 68 member countries and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.
The annual meeting is the statutory event for governors of ADB members to provide guidance on ADB administrative, financial, and operational directions.
It offers a platform for decision makers to discuss economic, financial, and social policies and programmes , including solutions that help shape the future of Asia and the Pacific.
This year’s meeting has the theme ‘Prosperity Through Unity’ and will continue the discussion with ADB member countries and development partners on working toward an inclusive, resilient and prosperous Asia and the Pacific as outlined in Strategy 2030.
Key seminars for delegates to the meeting are: The Role of Tourism for Sustainable Development, Digital Solutions for a More Liveable Future, Investing in Ocean Health, Renewable Energy, Economic Empowerment and Gender Equity, Debt Sustainability.
*Richard Moore is in Fiji, covering this event for CI News.