Asian Development Bank

ADB to continue to support Tonga government through upgraded office

The ADB and the government signed a Host Country Agreement earlier this month confirming the establishment of Country Offices to enhance the impact of ADB’s growing assistance programmes in Tonga.

Minister Tu’i’onetoa says the upgraded office would help support the government.

Kaniva News reports the head of the ADB Tonga Pacific Country Office is Tatafu Moeaki, a former civil servant and CEO for Finance.

Tonga has been a member of the ADB since 1972.

Over the past decade the ADB has increased its financial and technical assistance to Tonga.

Growth in Tonga up due to post-cyclone reconstruction

ADB’s flagship annual economic publication, the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2019, says Tonga’s economy is set to grow by 2.1% in 2019, while growth will moderate slightly to 1.9% in 2020.

The ADB report says the contribution of tourism to Tonga’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown steadily, albeit from a small base of only 7.0% of GDP in 2010, reaching 11.5% in 2017.

ADB offers support for Pacific renewable power projects

The support includes loans, guarantees, and letters of credit aimed to overcome constraints to private sector investment in the renewables sector.

The ADB says the Pacific Renewable Energy Programme will support an estimated 5 separate renewable energy projects in its Pacific developing member countries over a 5 year period.

"The program will help to build urgently needed capacity for energy sector expansion and private sector interest in clean energy projects in the region," said the Director General of the ADB's Pacific Department Carmela Locsin

ADB, GCF, and Australia Partner to improve Renewable Energy in Tonga

Approved in 2017 by ADB, the facility finances renewable energy projects in the 11 smallest Pacific island developing member countries with an overall estimated cost of $750 million, with ADB providing up to $200 million.

The project will help improve the development and implementation of renewable energy projects in Tonga, enhancing the country’s energy security and reducing carbon emissions. ADB will also administer grants worth $29.9 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and $2.5 million provided by the Government of Australia for the project.

ADB to Climate-Proof Nuku'alofa Electricity Network in Tonga

The support follows the $6 million assistance ADB provided to the Government of Tonga on 16 February under the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program and an additional $1 million under the ADB-supported Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund for humanitarian relief efforts on 22 February.

Apart from the grant from ADB’s Disaster Response Facility, Tonga Power Limited and the Government of Tonga will also contribute $1.48 million and $1.14 million, respectively, to the Cyclone Gita Recovery Project—expected to cost about $9.42 million in total.

ADB gives additional $1m to Tonga

The director-general of the ADB's Pacific Department said Gita was one of the most powerful cyclones in Tonga's recorded history and it had directly affected almost 80 percent of the population and damaged or destroyed around 2,000 homes.

Carmela Locsin said the grant will go towards restoring critical services, like water and electricity, clearing and disposing of rubble, and providing transitional shelter.

ADB warns climate change could wash away Tonga’s economic growth

According to the ADB’s latest Pacific Economic Monitor, inflation will remain unchanged at 2.5% and the GDP will grow from 2.8% to 3.5% in 2018.

However, the ADB also warned that Tonga ranked second highest country (behind Vanuatu) at risk from natural disasters.

Kaniva News reports Tonga’s location exposed it to a higher chance of natural disaster.

Its placing was also determined by its ability to cope with a disaster and to adapt in the aftermath.

ADB wants the Pacific to do more to adapt to climate change

In its latest Pacific Economic Monitor the Bank said changes were needed now to mitigate disaster risks to improve the region's economic growth and development prospects,

The ADB's director general of its Pacific Department, Carmela Locsin, said many Pacific countries had taken steps to improve resilience but she said more innovative approaches and greater institutional capacity could help the response.

ADB creates $200m facility to support clean energy projects in 11 Pacific Island Countries

The Pacific Island countries to be supported by the new fund include the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

These countries face developmental issues such as small populations, limited resources, remoteness and vulnerability to natural disasters.

ADB supports energy reform, clean and renewable energy in Pacific

The Pacific Energy Update 2017 provides a comprehensive overview of ADB’s energy-focused work in the Pacific. The publication highlights the impacts of ADB-supported energy initiatives completed in 2016 and ongoing in 2017, while providing details of what ADB hopes to achieve in the energy sector in the future.