The Australian Government will double its aid to Fiji from FJ$33.7 million to FJ$65.6 million by July 2012.
Director General of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Peter Baxter revealed this during his visitation of the Lami Health Centre yesterday.
“Australia will support Fiji’s Ministry of Health to strengthen primary health services and increase childhood immunization to ensure rates stay above 90 per cent,” said Baxter in a statement.
He said they will also work to improve maternal health, including supporting upgrades to all of Fiji’s 17 sub-divisional hospitals to help them meet World Health Organization standards for maternal and childhood health.
Australia will also support Fiji’s Ministry of Education to increase the numbers of children attending and staying in school.
“Our assistance will help provide books, stationery, infrastructure and fee grants to help the poorest children attend school. 180 schools will benefit over the next four years.”
Baxter said Australian aid will increase economic opportunities for the people of Fiji, helping farmers find buyers for their produce and enabling women to get better access to markets to sell produce.
“Australia will also help educate the next generation of leaders, by providing more scholarships for Fijians to study in Australia.”
According to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, more than one third of Fiji’s people live in poverty, and poverty is increasing in rural areas.
Australia is Fiji’s largest bilateral donor and will provide Fiji with an estimated F$100 million in official development assistance in 2012 – 13.
By Ropate Valemei