The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Palau officially have launched ADB Pacific Country Office in Koror. “ADB finance and technical assistance has helped Palau achieve development results,” said Palau President Thomas Remengesau Jr. at Friday's ceremony. “The new ADB office here will allow us to work in closer partnership in responding to the development needs of the people of Palau.” In establishing its extended presence in Palau, ADB is reaffirming its commitment to the Pacific country. The office will enable the bank to provide more effective support and responsiveness on the ground, and maintain regular and close dialogue with the government, civil society, project beneficiaries, and other stakeholders. “For almost 20 years, ADB has been assisting Palau to achieve its development goals,” said ADB Deputy Director General for the Pacific Jim Lynch. “ADB plans to scale up its activities in Palau, helping the country reform telecommunications, improve energy efficiency, and build resilience to climate change. ADB’s new office in Palau will play an important role toward achieving those goals.” ADB’s assistance to Palau currently concentrates on improving public sector performance and promoting private sector development. ADB complements this assistance with support for key infrastructure investments that deliver inclusive economic and social benefits. Technical assistance, through ADB’s country and regional programs, will continue to provide flexible and responsive support for Palau’s development goals. For instance, ADB is improving the standard of living for the people of Palau through a $30 million sanitation project in Koror. This project will ensure that Palau’s sewage treatment and disposal systems meet national environmental standards, while increasing access to, and availability of, safe and hygienic public toilets. ADB also supported Palau’s involvement in the North Pacific Regional Connectivity Investment Project which provides Palau with affordable, high-speed broadband internet access. ADB is also supporting business reform in Palau by supporting the government with the completion of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey. ADB also assisted with the preparation of an updated private sector assessment and the introduction of modern business registration systems. To improve access to commercial credit, ADB provided technical assistance for new legislation on secured transactions. The government has since launched a secured transaction registry, making it possible for banks to provide loans with greater security and at reduced risk.
Palau has been working with ADB since 2003 and was classified as an ADB developing member country in December 2005. ADB has since committed loans totaling $84.7 million, $200,000 in grants, and technical assistance projects worth $3.8 million to Palau. The Palau PCO joins other ADB PCOs in the Pacific, including in the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. It also joins ADB’s country offices in Australia, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea in boosting ADB’s field presence to facilitate aid coordination and aid effectiveness in the Pacific region. (ADB)