Australia increases regional aid through the Asian Development Fund
Australia continues to demonstrate regional leadership and a commitment to ending poverty in the Asia-Pacific region by increasing the contribution to the Asian Development Fund. The Asian Development Fund supports developing countries by providing highly concessional loans and grants for inclusive and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.
At the most recent replenishment of the Asian Development Fund, Australia committed to increasing funding up to $629.3 million. This increased contribution will make Australia the second largest donor after Japan and before the United States. Foreign Minister Bob Carr said “The Asian Development Bank has a key role in building regional integration, bringing countries together, helping build relationships which foster trade and investment across the Asia Pacific – networks that are clearly beneficial to Australia”.
Australia’s aid program is focused on the Asia-Pacific region where two-thirds of the world’s poor live and yet this region receives less than one-third of global aid. In helping people in our region overcome poverty, Australia is promoting the stability and prosperity of our region and beyond.
In partnering with the Asian Development Bank, Australia is improving development outcomes for poor people in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2011‑12, Australian contributions to the Asian Development Fund supported developing countries achieve improved access to safe water supplies for 138 000 people, and 55 000 additional people were provided with increased access to improved sanitation facilities. Access to safe water and sanitation is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Finance sector development is identified as an area of comparative strength for the Asian Development Bank. In 2011-12, Australia’s contributions to the Asian Development Fund supported developing countries in the Asia Pacific region provide more than 43 000 poor women and men with increased access to financial services.
Since 2006, Australia has partnered with the Asian Development Bank to support the Private Sector Development Initiative. The Initiative assists foster a dynamic and entrepreneurial private sector across 14 Pacific island countries. In 2011, the rural outreach of existing microfinance institutions was expanded and mobile phone banking introduced in Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Vanuatu. As a result, rural populations have increased access to secure savings and loan services for the first time, this is particularly significant for those people living in some of the most remote areas of these Pacific island countries. When people have access to financial services their ability to increase their incomes is strengthened as is their ability to reduce their vulnerability to external shocks.