Pacific news in brief for May 6

Samoa – solar

Samoa’s Electric Power Corporation has sold two major solar farms at Tuanaimato and Faleolo for more than $7 million tālā, and secured a low-cost power purchase agreement from the companies.

The Samoa Observer reports the corporation’s general manager, Faumui Iese Toimoana, saying the companies have preferred not to use the existing solar farms and will build new ones.

The two solar farms were under the Electric Power Corporation and were put on the market late last year.


Australia will pour more than US$300 million into development projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong inked the four-year funding arrangement to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) last Thursday.

Australia’s Labor government is also expected to unveil a funding package aimed at increasing the support Canberra provides to Pacific Island police forces.

Papua New Guinea – growth

A bank director has offered insights into why Papua New Guinea’s GDP growth between 2019 and 2023 averaged only 1.5 percent.

ADB country director Said Zaidansyah’s reasons for hindered growth include a non -diversified economy that is overly reliant on extracting natural resources; and a series of global shocks including the Covid pandemic.

He also said there are structural impediments, including a large infrastructure gap, and a poor and unstable law and order environment.

The National reports Zaidansyah saying future growth could be driven by agriculture, fisheries and tourism, in addition to the extraction of natural resources.

Papua New Guinea – crisis

The World Bank has urged Papua New Guinea to address a “human capital crisis” and invest more in educating children, as a way to boost economic growth and security.

An annual economic update for PNG released last week shows economic growth was 2.7 percent last year – half that of the previous year, because of delays in the reopening of the Porgera gold mine and lower liquefied natural gas production.

Reuters said the report recommended the government provide text books and toilets for schools, which lacked basic materials, and noted many children are too hungry to learn.

PNG had a “human capital crisis” where nearly half of children show stunted growth, which affects brain development – the fifth highest rate globally.

Niue – study

Niue residents are being called upon to take part in a global study into cool roof technology.

The Cool-Roof Reflect Research Project is expected to begin in Niue in July or August.

BCN News spoke with the Auckland University research team led by Professor Sir Colin Tukuitonga.

PhD researcher and project manager Dr Noah Bunkley said 400 people need to be recruited for the study.

Tuvalu – climate

Tuvalu is continuing to make strides in preparation for COP29.

The Tuvalu government, with help from the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, has hosted climate finance negotiation training in the capital, Funafuti.

The workshop aimed to enhance the country’s capacity in navigating the difficulties of international climate negotiations.

Many small island developing states, on the frontlines of climate change, are learning how to engage in international climate change talks, which can be legally and technically complex.

COP29 will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 11-22 November 2024.


Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock landed in Fiji on Sunday to mark the first-ever visit by a German Foreign Minister to the country.

Upon arrival, Baerbock met with the acting Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Villiame Gavoka.

The Fiji government said discussions surrounding climate resilience and disaster management took place, and a bilateral agreement was signed as well.

On Monday, she paid a courtesy visit to the Fijian President Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere at the State House in Suva.

Samoa – mission

A US-sponsored mission has helped more than 5000 patients in Samoa through seven different hospitals in Upolu and three in Savaii.

Chargé d’Affaires of the Soifua Manuia Medical mission, Noriko Horiuchi, said due to the increase in personnel for the April mission, they were able to station sixteen doctors and nurse practitioners in Savaii across three hospitals.

He said they were looking at making this a mobile event, and discussions are underway to secure the next location, to target communities in the rural areas of Samoa.

The US Embassy said it looked forward to building upon the success of the April mission as it prepares for the return of the Soifua Manuia Medical Mission in late June.

Guam – infrastructure

A US delegation has been presented with Guam’s pressing needs for infrastructure improvements.

The Pacific Island Times reports Governor of Guam Lou Leon Guerrero saying the island continues to fall under the spotlight amid escalating geopolitical tensions.

The list she presented the visiting representatives includes a new hospital, defense access road, underground utilities and a Guam-based veterans facility.

She said labor shortages, housing challenges and the high cost of airline travel are some other issues Guam is facing.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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