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Economic growth focus for NZ’s development efforts

Economic growth focus for NZ’s development efforts

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that building an environment conducive to economic growth in Pacific Island countries is a focus for New Zealand’s development assistance programme in the region.

“Over the next seven years New Zealand, through NZAID, will spend over $2 billion in development assistance to the Pacific. The New Zealand Pacific Development Strategy launched recently sets the shape and direction for our assistance to the region.

“Our strategy centres on helping Pacific partners to create an environment which supports sustainable economic growth delivering long-term benefits.

Helen Clark spoke from Niue where she is attending the 39th Pacific Islands Forum: “New Zealand has made forward commitments of more than $70 million to assist Pacific countries build wharves, public facilities, and schools. It is also important that Pacific governments are supported to improve their capacity to manage infrastructure assets.

“At this year’s Pacific Island Forum we are announcing our joint commitment with Australia, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank to the new Pacific Regional Infrastructure Fund (PRIF). The PRIF will co-ordinate donor assistance and work directly with Pacific island countries to develop and maintain infrastructure for transport, water, sanitation, waste management, energy and communications, in both rural and urban areas.

“New Zealand has made an initial commitment of $1 million to the design of the facility and is likely to make a significant further contribution once the design is finalised.

”Another example of New Zealand’s aid programme contributing to income growth in the Pacific is our support to reinvigorate the pearl-farming industry in the Cook Islands. This work is part of a wider project to strengthen the marine resources sector and is helping get the pearl industry back on its feet after its near collapse in recent years.

New Zealand is supporting the Cook Islands Government’s work with marine farmers to develop sound business frameworks and again access to research and marketing expertise.

“Grass-roots assistance like this is central to New Zealand’s approach,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

ALSO: MEDIA RELEASE 20 August 2008 (NZ)

Australia, New Zealand, ADB, World Bank join forces to improve Pacific infrastructure

Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda and World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick today launched a new Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility.

This joint initiative will greatly assist Pacific Island Countries to overcome the significant challenges they face in linking people to vital services and make progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.

The Facility will coordinate donor assistance to develop and maintain critical economic infrastructure in the Pacific Island Countries. The Facility will provide up to $200 million funding over four years.

Improvements to the quality, reliability and availability of infrastructure in both rural and urban areas are crucial for boosting economic growth, creating jobs and providing access to basic services such as health and education.

The Facility will help develop competitive local private sectors to deliver infrastructure maintenance and construction services. This will contribute to both job creation and sustainable economic growth in the Pacific.

The Facility will be developed over time to respond to regional requirements. An initial focus on building long-term partnerships with Pacific countries and other donors will ensure that the Facility is best able to respond effectively to the needs of the region.

Transport infrastructure is expected to be an early priority for assistance. The Facility will assist Pacific Island countries to improve roads, ports and transport systems; support reliable energy and communications infrastructure; and improve their water, sanitation and waste management systems.

An inaugural workshop will be held in October to bring senior officials from Pacific Island Countries together to begin exploring ways in which countries may access the Facility.

ends

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