ADB talks of Fiji’s challenges

FIJI faces similar challenges as other Pacific island countries with limited public sector capacity and frequent changes in key staff, says the Asian Development Bank.

In its country profile of Fiji, the bank said the extent of its operations in Fiji fell below the levels of early ADB assistance.

It said Fiji was benefiting from technical assistance as maintaining an understanding of the present situation in key sectors had become challenging.

“ADB’s technical assistance is focused on government priorities to engender strong country ownership and counterpart support. “Where possible, consultants work with more than one counterpart to maximise the sustainable transfer of skills and knowledge.”

The bank said the lack of strong government-led development partner co-ordination was another challenge in Fiji.

It said traditional partners, including Australia, the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand, continued to provide assistance to Fiji, focusing largely on social welfare and human development.

“During the ADB sector assessment mission to Fiji in June 2013, the government noted that its priorities lay in infrastructure development-particularly in the transport, urban water supply and sanitation, and renewable energy sectors-and development of the non-sugar agriculture sector, including fisheries,” it said.

“Assistance by ADB under a future country partnership strategy will need to take into account increased rural poverty, the decline of key sectors (sugar and garment manufacturing), the vulnerability of the tourism industry, and government budgetary risks.”

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