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ADB expands Cook Islands presence

Tuesday 30 August 2022 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Economy, National

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ADB expands Cook Islands presence
The regional director of ADB’s Fiji Office, Aaron Batten (left), Acting Australian High Commissioner Ruth Baird, ADB Board director Arif Baharudin, and Avaroa Cable Ltd chief financial officer Alan Bird. - 22082915

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) joined the Government of the Cook Islands in an inauguration ceremony to officially open ADB’s Cook Islands Pacific Country Office (PCO) in Rarotonga.

The office has been operational since 2020, but the official opening was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ADB said in a media release.

ADB’s Pacific subregional Office regional director Aaron Batten and ADB executive director Arif Baharudin joined Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management financial secretary Garth Henderson for the ceremony.

“For almost 50 years, ADB has been assisting Cook Islands to achieve its development goals,” Batten said.

“ADB will continue to support the Cook Islands recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including private sector investment to create jobs and livelihood opportunities.

“The bank will explore future support to the country’s transport, particularly aviation, water, and sanitation sectors. ADB’s Cook Islands PCO will play a critical role in this work,” he said.

Government’s financial secretary Henderson said: “ADB finance and technical assistance has helped Cook Islands achieve our development results.”

“The Cook Islands PCO deepens our partnership with ADB and allows us to be more responsive to the needs of the people of the Cook Islands,” he said.

The ADB said its work with the Cook Islands is focusing on building resilience against economic shocks and supporting the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, while promoting private sector investment.

“The Cook Islands has been working with ADB since 1976 and to date, ADB has committed 59 public sector loans, grants, and technical assistance totalling almost $222 million. ADB’s ongoing sovereign portfolio in the Cook Islands includes four loans worth almost $100 million,” the ADB said.

The Cook Islands Pacific County Office is headed by Lavinia Tama and joins other ADB PCOs in the Pacific, including in the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, 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, the ADB said.

The ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.