ADB's Chief Economist: Yasuyuki Sawada

The Asian Development Bank’s chief economist, Yasuyuki Sawada, will visit Tonga for a two day visit this week.

He will be in the kingdom from April 29-30.

Tonga has received $70.2 million in loans, $121.2 million in grant and $23.3 million in technical assistance from the ADB since 1972.

The bank has significantly increased its financial support since 2008.

Last year the ADB warned that Tonga was one of six Pacific countries facing high risks of debt distress.

It said Tonga was the worst off, with public sector debt totalling 56 percent GDP.

The bank said the problem stemmed from a narrow economic base, vulnerability to economic shock and climate change.

According to a Reuters report, Chinese loans accounts for more than 60 percent of Tonga’s total external debt burden.

ADB projects in Tonga include projects aimed at increasing access to solar power and to improve energy efficiency.

It is also financing work on climate change adaptation, cyclone recovery, urban development and public sector management.

While he is in Tonga, Sawada will meet with Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Semisi Sika, Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet Edgar Cocker, Minister for Finance Hon. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, and the Governor of the National Reserve Bank,  Dr. Sione Ngongo Kioa. 

Sawada will present the 2019 Asian Development Outlook (ADO), which includes the Tongan economy as part of the Pacific region.

Hon. a Tu’i’onetoa said Tonga’s economy was benefitting from ADB investment in the kingdom.

The Minister will lead Tonga’s delegation to the ADB’s 52nd annual meeting in Fiji at the beginning of May.

The main points

  • The Asian Development Bank’s chief economist, will visit Tonga for a two day visit  next week.
  • Last year the ADB warned that Tonga was one of six Pacific countries facing high risks of debt distress.
  • It said Tonga was the worst off, with public sector debt totalling 56 percent GDP.

For more information

Asian Development Bank and Tonga: Fact Sheet

https://www.adb.org/publications/tonga-fact-sheet

ADB cautions Pacific countries over debt distress

https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/378299/adb-cautions-pacific-countries-over-debt-distress

Payment due: Pacific islands in the red as debts to China mount

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pacific-debt-china-insight/payment-due-pacific-islands-in-the-red-as-debts-to-china-mount-idUSKBN1KK2J4

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