Australia earmarks AUD$52 million in aid for Samoa
The Australian Federal Government has earmarked AUD$52 million in aid for Samoa in its budget brought down last week in Canberra, Australia.
The extra allocation was confirmed by Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, in a recent telephone interview with Samoa's TV1 station.
He said the budget that the new Australian Government handed down contained increased allocations to invest in the people and the prosperity of the Pacific and this includes AUD$1.9 billion in foreign aid to the region.
"It [Australian Federal Government budget] includes AUD$1.9 billion in foreign aid to the Pacific next year alone and that includes AUD$52 million that will be allocated to Samoa, that is up from AUD$40 million last year," said Mr. Conroy.
The Australian Federal Minister said it was a "very significant increase" from last year in development assistance to Samoa and is one part of a broad package of support for the region from the Australian Government.
"It includes support for maritime aerial surveillance to cut down on illegal fishing that robs the people of the Pacific of the revenue from fishing, includes support for a Pacific defence school to help train the military and the police forces in the Pacific.
"It includes AUD$32 million to support more journalism in the Pacific and it also includes greater climate infrastructure in the Pacific so these all is responding to the priorities that we've heard from the people and leaders in the Pacific."
The increase in development assistance to the Pacific are all part of Australia being "a good and active and respectful partner" to the region, Mr. Conroy said.
The announcement by the Australian Government of an increase in aid for the Pacific came before Sydney-based think tank the Lowy Institute released its updated Pacific Aid Map early this week, which said that its 2022 edition showed major donors such as Australia reconfiguring their aid programs and moving towards new forms of aid, including direct budget support in 2020.
Key findings highlighted by the Lowy Institute's Pacific Aid Map included 2020 being "the largest year on record" in terms of aid to the region.
"With more than US$3.3 billion disbursed, aid increased by 33 per cent from 2019 levels and more than doubled from 2008," reads the report.
"Official development financing — the combination of grants, loans and other financial assistance — surged from US$3.1 billion in 2019 to reach a record US$4.2 billion in 2020, in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Tourist-dependent countries received the largest percentage increase in development financing in 2020. Fiji’s and Palau’s more than doubled."
The Lowy Institute's Pacific Aid Map was released on Monday 31 October 2022.
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