MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Samoa entered into a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2008 - 2012 which focuses on improved delivery of power, water, sanitation, and education services through private sector participation.

"The CPS is expected to improve growth prospects and living standards, especially for disadvantaged members of the community," said S. Hafeez Rahman, Director General of ADB's Pacific Department.

Samoa has made significant progress in human development since the early 1980s. However, not all Samoans have fully shared the benefits of growth, with the poorest 10% of households still earning just 1.8% of the national income.

Samoa's gross domestic product growth has been revised to 3.3% in 2008, up from 3.0% projected earlier in the year. Overseas remittances have risen and tourism revenues have increased. Amid these gains, sharp increases in oil and food prices are affecting Samoa's highly import-dependant economy.

A Country Partnership Strategy is ADB's primary planning instrument for member countries that also serves to monitor and evaluate the country's development performance during the timeframe of the strategy.

One of the key projects in the strategy is the expansion of the innovative Power Sector Expansion Project, funded by ADB, Japan, and Australia.

"The project aims to establish effective regulation of the power sector, develop a strategy to promote energy efficiency and conservation, and develop clean energy resources," Mr. Rahman said.

Other key assistance areas are public health in urban areas, especially those households exposed to poor drainage; better access to affordable and reliable electricity supply; and improved education quality in secondary schools, especially those in rural areas. E-learning opportunities will also be explored.

The strategy will also enhance private sector development through improved commercial and legal environment as well as accountability of public enterprises. The tourism industry is expected to be an important beneficiary of these initiatives, creating new opportunities for youth and less skilled workers.

The CPS was prepared in close coordination with development partners in line with the goals outlined in the Samoan Government's Strategy for the Development of Samoa.

Samoa has received almost $156.6 million in loans since joining in ADB at the bank's founding in 1966.