PORT VILA, VANUATU (8 September 2021) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Vanuatu today signed a $5 million grant to help fund the preparation of ADB-supported land, maritime, and aviation projects in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu’s Minister of Finance and Economic Management Johnny Koanapo and ADB Pacific Department Director General Leah Gutierrez signed the agreement, which will fund assessments, planning, and capacity building for implementing transport sector projects.
“Vanuatu is vulnerable to natural hazards, and we must protect our transport sector assets to ensure they do not deteriorate,” said Mr. Koanapo. “This ADB support will enhance the readiness of Vanuatu’s transport projects and allow us to be prepared in times of extreme weather and disasters.”
The Vanuatu transport network, which comprises predominantly government-owned infrastructure and services, includes 4 international seaports of entry; 3 international airports; a road network comprising an estimated 2,000 kilometers of sealed, gravel, and earth roads; 28 domestic airstrips; and 36 domestic wharves, jetties, and landings critical for interisland connectivity. The islands in Vanuatu are mostly mountainous or steeply undulating. This physical geography and the dispersed population of the island group make it difficult to build and maintain transport infrastructure in Vanuatu.
“ADB-supported projects need robust preparation of engineering designs, strengthened procurement to select quality contractors, and institutional strengthening of government agencies,” said Ms. Gutierrez. “ADB will use its project readiness financing (PRF) to expedite transport project delivery in Vanuatu by reducing start-up delays, ensuring quality design, and providing a high level of project readiness preparation which will ultimately help project implementation down the line.”
ADB’s PRF will help to identify the investment potential for transport projects, complete project designs, and support the procurement of civil works materials. The facility will also help prepare a transport sector road map and investment plan to prioritize bankable projects in air, maritime, and roads in the short to medium term, and provide capacity and institutional strengthening for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities.
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.