Asian Development Bank-Cook Islands

Since becoming a member of the Asian Development Bank in 1976, 17 loans totaling $77 million, 2 grant projects totaling $8 million and 37 technical assistance projects totaling $12 million have been approved for the Cook Islands. Priorities for lending and technical assistance allocation are set out in a two year Country Operations Business Plan which is negotiated between the bank and the Cook Islands Government.

The process of a Country Operations Business Plan being produced is: 

  1. An annual ADB in-country mission is carried out involving meetings with stakeholders.
  2. Mission findings are summarised into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). When the content of the MoU is agreed, it is signed by the ADB delegate/s who conducted the mission and the Cook Islands ADB Alternate Governor at the time. The MoU forms the basis of a draft Country Office Business Plan
  3. The draft Country Office Business Plan is subject for approval from higher authorities of the Asian Development Bank and the Government of the Cook Islands.
  4. Approved Country Office Business Plan is produced and published

The bank also considers applications directly from private sector organisations.

ADB-Strategies, Plans,Policies, Pacifc Approach and Periodic Reports

Southern Renewable Energy Project


This project is implemented by the ADB and will assist the Cook Islands to reach its goal of delivering renewable energy to all its islands by 2020 and also reducing the Cook Islands’ dependence on fossil fuels, by building solar-powered plants on five of its islands, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Union (EU), the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the Government of Japan through the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Pacific Environment Community Fund or PEC), the Green Climate Fund through ADB's Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Investment Program and the government of the Cook Islands.

An Inception meeting held in May 2015 resulted in the government signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Asian Development Bank, finalising the scope for Phase 1. Construction of the solar farms, systems and distribution upgrades on Mitiaro, Mauke, Mangaia and Atiu. Rarotonga and Aitutaki, will be progressively be developed over 2015 for the implementation of Phase 2 alongside institutional capacity building and national policy work. 

Each solar power plant built on the islands in the country’s south under this $24.28 million project will have a total installed power generation capacity of approximately 3 megawatts. It is anticipated that this project will lower annual use of diesel consumption for generating electricity by 1.09 million litres, in turn lowering carbon dioxide emissions. Nearly all households in the Cook Islands are connected to grid electricity. Of these households 5.5% have additional solar photovoltaic systems installed, and 1% use small diesel generators. The Cook Islands depends heavily on imported fuels and electricity costs there are among the highest in the Pacific.

Total funding is estimated at US$11.19 million (NZD$12.98 million) of a loan from ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources, a $7.26 million grant from the EU a product grant of Pacific Environment Community (PEC) USD3.9 million along with in-kind contribution of $5.83 million from the Cook Islands Government will fund the project. The project’s executing agency is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management. The implementing partners are the Renewable Energy Development Division of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Rarotonga Power Authority (Te Aponga Uira) and the Island governments.
In April 2015, the GEF secretariat approved the project concept for inclusion a project preparation grant (PPG) of US$136,986. Additional grant funding of about US$4.12 million from GEF.In December 2016, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved ADB's Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Investment Program, including an initial $12 million grant for the Cook Islands to install energy storage systems in Rarotonga and support private sector investment in renewable energy. The additional GCF financing for the project was approved by ADB's Board in October 2017. 

This project compliments the solar power project implemented for the Northern Group of the Cook Islands and Rarotonga from the Government of New Zealand.


Cook Islands Improving Connectivity in the South Pacific


The Government of Cook Islands (the government) has requested the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support a submarine internet cable project. The project will link the islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands and Niue (non-member country) to Samoa and French Polynesia via a regional submarine internet cable (Manatua cable) system. The Government of New Zealand, represented by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), will also provide grant to the government to support the project.
The objective of the Cook Islands Submarine Cable Project (the Project) is to provide low cost and high quality internet service. The Project is expected to help Cook Islanders maintain social cohesion among relatives overseas through improved and affordable internet.  Also, to promote regional integration by increasing quality and frequency of communications among the countries in the region thus increasing trade in services (tourism and back-office functions) and allowing the region to form a sizeable market for digital products and services. It would also strengthen the existing regional public goods and encourage new ones by allowing countries to share the limited knowledge and human resources available in the Pacific.
The Project involves placement of a submarine fiber optic cable link to meet forecast bandwidth demand. The basic infrastructure components will comprise landing facilities and cable stations at either end of the route, with a fiber optic cable (unrepeated) laid on or beneath the sea floor.
As part of this broad-based electronic connectivity Project, ADB has provided a technical assistance through TA 8540-REG Pacific Information and Communication Technology Investment Planning and Capacity Development Facility to conduct the environmental and social safeguards studies for the proposed the proposed project in Aitutaki and Rarotonga.


Private Sector Development Initiative


Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) is a regional technical assistance facility cofinanced by the Asian Development Bank, The Government of Australia and the New Zealand Government.
The PSDI have been in operation since 2007 and over time have evolved into a performance-driven technical assistance instrument. With five core focus areas PSDI works with governments, companies and private sector organisations to assist with improving the enabling business environment.

A new series of three-page, infographic brochures provides an overview of the context, aims, and achievements of PSDI.
Using clear and accessible text and images, these booklets illustrate the need for and benefits of business environment reform in Pacific island countries. 
One brochure profiles PSDI overall, while the others explain the support PSDI provides under four of its focus areas: business law reform, economic empowerment of women, financing growth, and state-owned enterprise reform.

For additional information please click here to be redirected to the PSDI website

Cook Islands Technical Assistance and Country specific reports

Technical Assistance

Since its founding in 1966, ADB has been driven by inspiration and dedication to improving people’s lives in Asia and the Pacific. In partnership with our developing member countries and other stakeholders, we can provide support to alleviate poverty and help create a world in which everyone can share in the benefits of sustained and inclusive growth.

ADB supports national outcomes related to economic development, social development, environmental integrity, infrastructure, and good governance and partnership. Future assistance will focus on building sustainable capacity for sound economic and public sector management, promoting economic growth by financing environmentally sustainable infrastructure, and developing the private sector.

Projects where support has been provided through Regional technical assistance projects or Concessional loans are listed below: