National Security Coordinator Jennifer Anson said one of the security concerns of Palau is economic insecurity.

Speaking before the C#S-NMF Panel Discussion on Security Challenges to Island Nations in the Indo-Pacific, Anson said Palau is still trying to come out of the pandemic, which has upended the country’s economy.

“We’ve dug ourselves very deep into debt because we have taken out a lot of loans

to keep ourselves above water, especially during the pandemic,’ she said.

According to the latest World Bank report, Palau is one of the Pacific island countries that took more debt.  The report noted that Palau’s debt-to-GDP ratio has climbed to over 90 percent of GDP, limiting its capacity to respond to future shocks.

However, Palau is set to see  18 percent growth in 2023 due to the resurgent of tourism, much faster growth than other Pacific Island nations, the report said.

The growth will continue into 2024 as direct flights resume, improving tourism growth.

Anson said Palau had to take out loans as it is no longer eligible for grants being ranked as a developed nation.

She also noted that cybersecurity is another security concern in Palau, along with climate change, transnational crimes, and maritime security.

The  National Security Strategy has stated that threats to Palau’s Economic Security are the top concern.

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