The Pacific Infrastructure Challenge - A review of obstacles and opportunities for improving performance in the Pacific Islands

This report originated as part of the Background Paper prepared for the joint IBRD/JBIC/ADB East Asia and the Pacific regional infrastructure study, Connecting East Asia. Many stakeholders expressed interest in understanding more about differences and similarities among Pacific Island countries, how Pacific Island countries compared to other island states in the world, the role infrastructure plays in growth and development in the Pacific Islands region, and in identifying opportunities and obstacles to improving
infrastructure performance.

The World Bank asked Castalia Strategic Advisors to prepare this report.

The World Bank's task manager was Thakoor Persaud.

Peer Reviewers were: Beschorner, Carlo Maria Rossotto, Eric Groom and Michael Warlters. Other comments were received from: Christian Delvoie, Manjula Luthria, Apurva Sanghi, Michel Kerf, Nancy Convard and Peter Kelly.

Executive Summary
This discussion document is aimed at encouraging debate about the role infrastructure plays in growth and development in Pacific countries. It identifies opportunities and
obstacles to improved infrastructure performance.

We began by examining infrastructure performance in Pacific and comparator countries 
on indicators for service coverage, quality, cost and economic viability. This allowed us to
establish whether sector performance is relatively good or relatively poor in each country. We reviewed performance in the following infrastructure sectors: telecommunications,
electricity, water and sanitation, roads, airports and aviation, and ports and shipping.

We observe that although some utilities perform well, and infrastructure access is adequate in some (mainly urban) areas, Pacific countries do not perform as well as comparator
countries on most key performance indicators. In addition, levels of infrastructure access, quality and efficiency vary between countries of a similar size and income level within the Pacific region itself.

Castalia Strategic Advisors
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