Foreign aid pours into Palau

Typhoon Surigae hit Palau on April 16, 2021, damaging homes and properties and leaving many areas without power, water and telecommunications. Photo courtestyuu of the Office of the President

Foreign assistance begins pouring into Palau, whose coronavirus-battered economy has been compounded by Typhoon Surigae that caused damage to homes and properties and left many areas without power, water and telecommunications.

President Surangel Whipps Jr. on Thursday will deliver his first state of the republic address before a joint session of Olbiil Era Kelulau, marking his first 100 days in office.

Palau has managed to fend off the Covid-19 transmission but not the global impact of the pandemic on tourism, its main economic driver. And amid its struggle to recover, the Pacific nation now deals with the widespread damage brought about by the April 16 storm, but help is starting to flow,

The Asian Development Bank announced the approval of a $25-million policy-based loan to help Palau’s economy rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Recovery through Improved Systems and Expenditure Support Programme will help strengthen public financial management in the country, reduce fiscal risks, and support private sector development to restore sustained and equitable economic growth.

“This support will help Palau’s tourism-dependent economy bounce back from the impact of COVID-19 and drive it toward a more sustainable fiscal path,” said ADB Public Sector Economist Rommel Rabanal. “This, in turn, will translate to improved living standards for current and future generations of Palauans.”

The assistance is the first phase of a program developed in partnership with Palau to implement key reforms to safeguard fiscal sustainability and support recovery from the pandemic.