It may turn out to be somewhat of a good thing that China and the West are vying for the attention of countries in the Asia Pacific region, as it means they are finding themselves in a better bargaining position when it comes to asking for financial support.

This has been the case with others previously, and now Samoa looks set to reap similar rewards. Many of these nations have been struggling to cope with a changing world placing new demands on their economies, with a lack of resilience to climate change in low-lying land being a pressing issue.

When aligned with less growth in technological capabilities than many of their bigger neighbors, there has been a worry that some countries could get left behind.

This has seen the Asian Development Bank (ADB) step up their efforts to support countries like Samoa in the Pacific, with some key funding now being secured to be directed towards renewable energies, and better information and sharing connectivity facilities.

By installing newer and updated mechanisms, they will be better able to predict the needs of the country to react to altering landscapes, and with Pacific islands more under threat from climate change than most other world regions, it is becoming more important for these nations to be adequately prepared.


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The Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi welcomed the president of the ADB, Takehiko Nakao to Apia, the Samoan capital. Part of the reasoning for the meeting was to usher in what has been termed as a new era of cooperation for the country, with ADB having been given permission to set up a banking office there.

It will also see more opportunities for the nation to work with the bank, as they explore funding opportunities that can help the Pacific island get ready for the next decade.

Countries that have not been able to embrace technology as early on as counterparts have risked leaving themselves isolated on the world stage, and there is recognition that being able to cope with their vulnerable geographic position can only come from funding propelling their resilience forward quicker. Developing nations have been given more time to sort their priorities out and do not have to start reducing emissions until 2025, but even this may be a tall order unless steps are taken soon.

The move is also a point of intrigue in terms of the relative power plays between China and the West. Both sides have been trying to keep the Asia Pacific region within their grasp as a new geopolitical spat threatens to overspill.

With Australia and China in particular looking to assert their dominance and political influence in many ways, it will be interesting to see how the ADB developments are perceived by Beijing, as the ADB has received backing from the likes of Australia, New Zealand and Japan in the past, as well as the European Union.

Previous funding pots have helped to install underwater fiber-optic cables to connect Samoa with neighboring Fiji, while nearly two-thirds of all of the energy capacity in the country has come through capital investment by ABD. Quite how this will continue in the future is uncertain, but the ushering in of a new agreement is likely to ensure it will receive some form of support one way or another.