Bairiki, Tarawa, 13 August, 2014—A AU$20.2 million loan agreement to support the upgrade of the Bonriki International Airport was signed last week, Wednesday, 6 August between Kiribati and Taiwan.
The Taiwan loan provided through its International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) will provide support to the Kiribati Aviation Investment Project (KAIP) initiated by the World Bank in 2011, specifically in providing financing of resurfacing of the runway system at the nation’s international airport in Bonriki.
“The loan, signed between Kiribati Ambassador to Taiwan and ICDF Acting Secretary General – Ms. Teekoa Iuta and Dr. Lee Pai-po respectively, will be allocated to the rehabilitation of the runway, taxiway and apron area, complementing the KAIP project.” A statement from the ICDF Public Relations Office said.
Major improvements to Kiribati’s main airport are deemed to be essential, as air transportation is the key to facilitating the delivery of medical services and labor mobilization, and supporting the country’s development in sectors such as tourism and international trade.
However, the infrastructure of the Bonriki International Airport, and in particular the runway, is insufficient, and conditions are well below international standards. As such, the World Bank has committed a US$23 million grant to finance the KAIP, aiming to improve aviation infrastructure such as the terminal building, lighting and safety equipment, as well as supporting reforms to the aviation sector and the strengthening of airport operations and management.
“The Taiwan ICDF loan project will be implemented in parallel to the World Bank grant, under the framework of the KAIP.” The statement added.
The KAIP is part of a wider World Bank regional intervention, the Pacific Aviation Investment Program (PAIP). The first phase of the PAIP, expected to be completed by the end of 2016, covers Kiribati, Tuvalu and Tonga.