The Pacific Islands region has vaulted back to the centre of Australian foreign policy thinking. Prime Minister Morrison has positioned Australia’s “step up” in the region as his signature foreign policy initiative. Other governments have responded with their own “redial”, “pivot”, “uplift”, and “elevation” plans.
Much of this reaction is being driven by China’s rise, amid fears that China will try to leverage its influence – be it debt, diplomacy, or trade – to achieve strategic outcomes. Great power competition has returned to the Pacific.
Foreign aid is often the first tool used by nations to engage in this vulnerable region. Each year, more than US$2 billion in foreign aid is invested in the Pacific from more than 60 donors. But aid is often opaque, and information about it is scant, lacking detail, and difficult to access. 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.
Launching the second-year update of the Map, this event will present new analysis of Chinese debt diplomacy and its impact on debt sustainability in the Pacific.
Join Lowy Institute researchers to discuss what’s new in the Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map, and what it can tell us about the broader geopolitical developments playing out in Australia’s immediate region.
Alexandre Dayant is a Research Fellow in the Lowy Institute Pacific Islands Program, and lead researcher for the Pacific Aid Map.
Natasha Kassam is a Research Fellow in the Lowy Institute Diplomacy and Public Opinion Program, and chair of this event.
Jonathan Pryke is Director of the Lowy Institute Pacific Islands Program.
Roland Rajah is Director of the Lowy Institute International Economy Program.
All Lowy Institute public events are on the record and open for media attendance.