21 Jul 2021
Australia is losing ground in the fight for influence in the Pacific. We need a new approach, and fast.
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.