5 Dec 2005

ADB praises Tonga, but urges more to be done for the poor

7:19 am on 5 December 2005

The Asian Development Bank says Tonga's top position among the Pacific Islands, as measured by the UN Development Index, is the result of years of wise investment by the government in human resource development.

A team from the ADB is currently in the Kingdom to assess the economic situation of the country.

Tonga scored highly in reducing the infant mortality rate, maintaining a consistently high literacy rate, offering free basic education and in catering to the health, economic and social needs of the people.

Despite the progress that has been made, the ADB, in a joint press conference with the Acting Prime Minister Siosiua 'Utoikamanu, suggested that the government still needs to address the needs of the poor.

Mr 'Utoikamanu says the government is putting in place policies to alleviate poverty.

He says his department is actively pursuing a platform for action, which includes measures to identify those who live in poverty and to help them move out of their current situation.

The Human Development Index (HDI) ranks nations according to their citizens' quality of life.

In the latest ranking of HDI, Tonga is rated 54 out of over 170 countries.