The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expanding in Palau with an establishment of a country office to be completed by the end of the year, according to Development Coordinator for the ADB office here Ms. Alfonsa Koshiba.

Earlier, ADB announced that it is expanding its presence in 11 Pacific island countries “to enhance the impact of its growing program of assistance in the subregion.”

Koshiba said the expansion is underway,  ADB currently has a  development office here, but last year, ADB announced that it is increasing its presence here with the establishment of a country  office h

The country office is ADB’s way of increasing responsiveness to the development needs of Palau.

Last year, ADB’s Board of Directors approve expansion of offices in the Pacific which  will involve the conversion of four extended missions—in Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu—into country offices, and the establishment of seven new country offices in the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and Tuvalu.

“Engaging full-time staff in our 11 smallest Pacific member countries is consistent with the recent scaling up of ADB operations in the Pacific,” said ADB Principal Operations Coordination Specialist for the Pacific Mr. Paul Curry, said in a statement.

ADB has been assisting the Pacific, including Palau, in financing to help developing member countries “achieve sustainable economic and social development, while enhancing climate and disaster resilience.”

ADB said its overall assistance to the Pacific has doubled every 5 years since 2005, and now stands at $2.9 billion. Total assistance is expected to surpass $4 billion by 2020.

The new country offices will allow ADB to have more regular contact and substantive communication with government and development partners, enhance donor coordination, and improve project implementation.

By the end of 2019, ADB will have staff posted in Palau.

Palau joined the ADB in 2003 and became an ADB developing member country in December 2005. ADB has since committed loans totaling $84.7 million, a grant of $0.2 million, and technical assistance projects worth $3.8 million for Palau.

ADB has provided Palau with  $25 million to improve broadband connectivity and  $28.8M sanitation project in rehabilitating the Koror sewer system. (By Bernadette H. Carreon)