Project Case Study
Supporting the design of DFAT’s Samoa Economic Infrastructure Program
Designing the reform component and governance arrangements of the Samoa Economic Infrastructure Program
Samoa, like other Pacific island nations, has an economic infrastructure which is either aged or poorly maintained. Economic infrastructure is vital to achieving the goals of the Government of Samoa’s national development strategy (2012-16).
Samoa’s recent National Infrastructure Strategic Plan outlines A$1 billion of economic infrastructure improvements for the next five years across the energy, water, solid waste, road, sea, air and telecommunications sectors.
The plan is clearly ambitious and not all of these projects are necessarily a high priority for the government, as they may not offer a sufficient economic and social return. A$600 million (which is approximately equivalent to Samoa’s annual gross domestic product) of what is proposed is therefore unfunded. None of these projects have been evaluated in terms of their potential socioeconomic benefits, economic viability or appropriateness for context and purpose.
Investing in economic infrastructure is consistent with the goal of the 2008-2015 Samoa-Australia Partnership for Development, and with the strategic priorities of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). DFAT aims to address vulnerability to economic shocks and climate change through economic growth and diversification, and supporting public investment in Samoa by using grant financing to leverage concessional borrowing.
The eight year Samoa Economic Infrastructure Program aims to stimulate sustainable economic activity in Samoa and provide improved access to services and markets by investing in economic infrastructure. The program comprises three components: investments in priority economic infrastructure projects; infrastructure structural and policy reforms performance linked aid program; and a technical assistance fund.
Between February and December 2014, we were contracted by DFAT to provide the services of a Design Team in Samoa to undertake wide consultations. The team will identify and assess options for DFAT to manage an effective infrastructure reform agenda in the country. They will outline the framework for the governance of the program and mechanism to select the most appropriate reforms in relation to economic growth outcomes.