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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 26, 2002 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---RMI leaders singed a multi-million loan with the Asian Development Bank on Wednesday this week (April 24) that aims to greatly improve transportation services to the remote outer islands.

The ADB loan is expected to be about $7 million and, with the RMI contribution of about $2 million, the total package is worth $9 million. The agreement was singed in Majuro by Finance Minister Mike Konelios, Transportation Minister Brenson Wase and ADB official Tilak Sen.

Included with the overall loan is a technical assistance grant involving sea transportation and Air Marshall Islands.

The loan aims to dramatically improve shipping access to outer islands by building or expanding docks, jetties, storage facilities and cargo handling equipment, and placing navigational aids for vessels servicing different islands.

"The aim is to transport goods and services to the outer islands more quickly," Sen said.

A component of the loan will also focus on outer island airstrip improvements for selected atolls. Sen said the runway improvements would be dictated more by social benefit than economic opportunities.

"We want to minimize government operations by shortening the turn-round time for vessels," Wase said.

Sen indicated there would be opportunities for private sector involvement in the shipping side of the loan.



MAJURO, Marshall Islands (April 26, 2002 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---The outer island infrastructure loan signed Wednesday in Majuro is one of two major loans from the Asian Development Bank that will be targeting needs in the outer islands over the next several years.

Negotiations are now in progress on a second loan focused on the outer islands for 2004. That loan will address outer island social services and needs, according to ADB’s Tilak Sen.

Education, health and drinking water will be key areas for the 2004 loan, Sen said.

"Whatever it takes to make life better for disadvantaged people on the outer islands," he added.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: [email protected]  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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