Sustained and inclusive economic growth and resilient infrastructure is crucial for Vanuatu's future. It provides jobs and business opportunities, reduces poverty and creates revenue for public services. Economic growth is enabled through changes to government policies, private sector development, regulation of various sectors of the economy, and growth in trade and investment. Vanuatu's geography, weather (including heavy rains and floods in the wet season) and scattered population mean building and maintaining infrastructure for sustainable economic development is challenging and expensive. Australia is working closely with the Vanuatu Government to better plan, budget for and build resilient infrastructure.
Governance for Growth Phase 3
Up to $20 million, 2017-2021
Governance for Growth Program (GFG) supports the Vanuatu Government by removing constraints and bottlenecks to economic growth, improving service delivery through policy, regulatory and management reforms and improving public financial management under Vanuatu's Priorities and Action Agenda. Through GFG, Australia supports the policy and management roles of two central agencies, the Vanuatu Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management. It also supports several other line Ministries, including the Ministry of Climate Change through the Department of Energy and the Ministry of Trade and Tourism. This involves working closely with ni-Vanuatu officials on economic and financial reforms, developing good financial management systems, and supporting better planning and coordination of the government's development initiatives.
GFG has also assisted the government in the establishment of the Telecommunications and Radio Communications regulator and the Utilities Regulatory Authority.
GFG's partnership with the Vanuatu Government for the implementation of Phase 3 has two core objectives:
- Government, acting with the private sector, conceives and implements change in policy and practice that encourages inclusive economic growth, and
- public expenditure delivers more effective services — demonstrated by consistency of expenditure with policies and planning; efficient and accountable flow of public funds to front line services; reduction in uncontrolled and unplanned staffing costs; and ability of Vanuatu to access and implement climate funding.
Following a review in 2017, the third phase of GFG began in 2017 and focusses support in areas of solid progress such as central budgeting and broader public financial management, customs and revenue reform, external audit and procurement. The program also supports financial planning, management and effective expenditure against delivery targets at the line agency level. The 2017 review re-emphasized the need to continue the existing GFG program delivery modality.
Evolving the approach taken in Phases 1 and 2, GFG Phase 3 is:
- encouraging focus on medium and long term priorities for economic policy and management
- providing timely and flexible support for reform initiatives as they arise
- emerging initiatives include taxation and expenditure management; telecommunications; decentralisation of budgets and service provision; competition policy; financial inclusion and review of the machinery of government amongst many others
- giving reference to pragmatic changes in the existing formal and informal incentives to behaviour by economic actors over creation of new laws or systems
- supporting industry regulation that encourages competition and benefits consumers
- promoting legislation, capacity and behaviour that provides a stable, rules based environment for business.
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development
Up to $11.9 million, 2012-2022
In addition to bilateral program activities, the Australian Government funds initiatives supporting women's empowerment in Vanuatu through the regional program Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women).
Roads for Development Program
Up to $24.8 million, 2013-2018
Australia is working with Vanuatu's Public Works Department in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities to provide a well-maintained and reliable national road network. This program (formerly known as the Vanuatu Transport Sector Support Program) supports the Government of Vanuatu to effectively plan, build and maintain its road transport infrastructure.
The long term goal of the program is that people in Vanuatu have increased access to, and derive economic benefit from, a well-maintained, affordable and integrated road network. The current phase of the program, which started in 2013, directly involves island communities in managing, maintaining and ultimately using improved roads, which stimulates economic activity and improves access to services. A third and final phase of infrastructure sector support is under design (November 2017 – February 2018) and will seek to support the Public Works Department and Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities to influence road funding outcomes and to manage the road network of Vanuatu more efficiently and effectively.
Key outcomes sought are:
- the Public Works Department's strategic framework guides management and operational decision making, and
- the Public Works Department manages and maintains the road network in a cost-effective manner.
Port Vila Urban Development Project
Up to $31 million, 2013-2018
The Port Vila Urban Development Project (PVUDP) supports the Government of Vanuatu to establish and maintain sustainable and resilient urban infrastructure in Port Vila by improving drainage and roads and installing footpaths and community sanitation services. Australia's contribution ($31 million of total project finance of $39 million) is managed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has co-financed the project with a loan and grant to the Vanuatu Government.
The project aims to improve:
- core urban infrastructure of Port Vila, including drainage and roads
- disposal and treatment of septic waste
- access to hygiene facilities for communities in peri-urban settlements
- management of urban infrastructure.
Elements of the project, including community sanitation facilities and a new sewage treatment facility, are complete and operational. Other elements, including roadworks, footpaths and drainage, are underway. Major construction is expected to be completed in 2018.
Skills for Economic Growth Phase IV
Up to A$16.4 million, 2016-2020
Skills for Economic Growth program is an Australian Government funded program working with the Vanuatu Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) and Provincial Governments to coordinate and facilitate the delivery of targeted skills training services in communities.
Under previous phases, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres were established in the provinces of Sanma, Malampa, Torba and Tafea. Implementation of phase IV commenced on 1 October 2017. The program supports activities that encourage a more responsive and better quality training system that is able to meet the skills demands of the productive sectors (especially tourism, agriculture and trade) in provincial communities. The program operates within existing structures and works with local training providers to deliver courses focused on employment and income-generation outcomes within a nationally recognised framework.
The program works closely with the Vanuatu Qualifications Authority (VQA), which is responsible for the Vanuatu Qualifications Framework, and supports training providers to register and to develop and deliver accredited modular courses that respond to productive sector demands and are linked to economic outcomes.
The Vanuatu Government is committed to integrating the TVET centres into the MoET structure, with three positions in the program already funded by the Vanuatu Government.
In 2016, the program was selected for a grant under DFAT's Disability Inclusive Development fund to implement activities over three years to assist training providers to be more inclusive. The program also partners with the Pacific Women investment in Vanuatu, implementing activities to improve women's economic empowerment.
Key outcomes sought are:
- an integrated sectoral approach for economic outcomes through skills development in four provinces of Vanuatu (Sanma, Malampa, Torba and Tafea) through support for training, business development and employment services, with a focus on expanding women's income-earning; and
- continue to strengthen the quality of local training providers and the Vanuatu Qualifications Authority to meet skills development requirements.
Approximately $3 million per annum
Australia Awards offer the next generation of Vanuatu's leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and the Pacific region. Australia Awards complement development assistance to Vanuatu by building human resources in priority sectors. Through these prestigious scholarships, Australia is giving ni-Vanuatu students the skills and knowledge to drive change and influence economic and social development.
Priority sectors for scholarship awards are:
- health/public health management
- public sector/financial management/economics
- engineering (civil, transport/infrastructure, aviation, ports and marine, town planning)
- information technology
- environment/agriculture/veterinary (including bio-security)
- disability studies
- policing/law and justice
- community development