ADB ramps up Pacific presence as donors jostle for influence

September 19, 2018

The Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday it is expanding its presence in the Pacific islands, at a time of competition for influence there, opening seven new country offices and expecting its loans and grants in the region to top $4 billion by 2020. The pledge from the Japan-led bank comes amidst a vigorous new campaign by the United States and its allies to check China’s rising sway in the region, where it has sought deeper diplomatic ties and emerged as the second-largest donor.
The battle for influence in the sparsely populated Pacific matters because each of the tiny island states has a vote at international forums like the United Nations, and they also control vast swathes of resource-rich ocean.
The ADB said it will open offices in the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and Tuvalu, as well as expand missions in Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. “The new country offices will allow ADB to have more regular contact and substantive communication with government,” the bank said in a statement.

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