Palau is set to get its second submarine cable by year 2023, with all financing instruments executed this week with key partners and representatives of the partners, witnessed by President Tommy Remengesau Jr. and President-elect Surangel Whipps Jr.
Palau’s second submarine cable, which will connect to ECHO Submarine Cable Project that connects Singapore to United States, is funded through “complex web of financing” that astonishingly have been put together and finalized in such a short time.
On Wednesday, signing of the financial instruments took place at the President’s Office in Meyuns, Koror, with representatives of all the financing institutions present in person and virtually.
Australian Ambassador Richelle Turner signed on behalf of Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific and Export Finance Australia. She said that this partnership will help to provide not only resiliency to Palau’s international connectivity but also spur new economic opportunities for Palau.
Ambassador Akira Karasawa of Japan emphasized that this was a very symbolic project, “one of the tri-lateral cooperation” between Japan, United States and Australia in support of free and open Indo-Pacific and one that three foreign ministers of three countries announced together, a highly unique diplomatic occurrence. Japan’s Ambassador Akira Karasawa witnessed on behalf of Japan Bank for International Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. Members of the two Japan organizations were also present virtually to witness the event.
United States Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland also represented United States and its grant financing aspect of the project. Ambassador Hennessey-Niland lauded Palau and BSCC for the “substantial strides in rebuilding and modernizing its telecommunications infrastructure.” He added that the capacity of the new cable will help Palau “realize the economic and development benefits of increased and strengthened connectivity. For an economy that must diversify from its tourism base, this is an important news.” He also expressed that the project is part of the United States Pacific Pledge to the Pacific Islands development programs, that since its announcement, had pledged over $300 million to the Pacific Islands.
“On behalf of BSCC Board of Directors, I would like to thank the financiers who have made PC2 a reality,” expressed BSCC Chairman Keobel Sakuma. “The deployment of a second, more robust fiber optic cable will not only allow for better connection to the world but will secure Palau as a bub for secure and dependable connectivity in the Pacific and in turn, will allow us to diversify our economy beyond tourism.”