Ocean of Debt: Mapping Pacific Aid and Influence


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When: Nov 22 2019 - 12:30pm until Nov 22 2019 - 1:30pm
Where: John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road, Room 3121 (3rd Floor)

The Pacific Islands have vaulted back into the forefront of Asia-Pacific foreign policy.  Australia’s Pacific “Step Up” is Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s signature foreign-policy initiative, and other states have responded with their own “redial”, “rebalance”, “uplift”, and “elevation” plans.  Much of this reengagement is driven by fear that China will leverage its influence – be it debt, diplomacy, or trade– to achieve strategic outcomes, including setting up military bases.  Foreign aid is often the first tool states use to engage, and each year, more than US$2 billion is invested in the Pacific by more than 60 donors..  Foreign aid information is often opaque, difficult to access, and lacks detail. The Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map fills this gap, providing an analytical tool that collates and analyses data on all aid projects in the Pacific.  This talk will showcase the second-year update of the map, which incorporates new data and new functionality, as well as present new analysis of Chinese debt diplomacy and its impact on debt sustainability in the Pacific.

Jonathan Pryke is Director of the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program.  Prior to joining the Lowy Institute, Jonathan was a Research Officer at the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University, where he was editor of the Development Policy Blog and a co-convener of the Australasian Aid Conference. Jonathan studies economic development in the Pacific Islands region, Australia’s ties with Melanesia, the role of aid and the private sector in Pacific Islands development and labour mobility. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Sydney, a Masters of Public Policy (Development Policy), Masters of Diplomacy and Graduate Diploma in International and Development Economics from the Australian National University.

Open to the public

RSVP by Nov. 21: 944-7111 or EWCInfo@EastWestCenter.org

Primary Contact Info:
Phone: 944-7111