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Australia is losing ground in the fight for influence in the Pacific. We need a new approach, and fast.

By Anthony Bergin

THE PROBLEM: It’s increasingly evident that our development assistance to the South Pacific isn’t matching, let alone countering, China’s increasingly aggressive intervention in the region.

This year, Australia is giving around AU$1.4 billion in aid to Pacific nations, including $600 million to Papua New Guinea (the largest recipient). Australia is also slowly distributing funding under the $2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility, the flagship initiative of Australia’s Pacific Step-up.

China provides just under US$200 million a year in aid to Pacific nations, including around $100 million a year to Papua New Guinea. Why is China able to exert so much influence in the region given this comparatively low aid contribution?

Read the full article here.

Originally published by: on 21 Jul 2021