5 Nov 2018

Cook Islands welcomes changes to OECD assistance

2:17 pm on 5 November 2018

The Cook Islands is welcoming a loosening of international aid rules ahead of its imminent graduation to developed nation status.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

Last week the UK government said it had successfully lobbied for changes to the OECD's overseas development assistance.

The Cook Islands, which is set to be classed by the OECD as a high income country at the end of the year, says the new status will be a challenge.

But Finance Minister Mark Brown said last week's changes, which will allow graduated countries to receive assistance if their economies worsen, will help the Cook Islands.

Under previous rules, countries maintaining high-income for three consecutive years were ineligible for overseas development assistance.

Now, any country experiencing economic shocks caused by crises or natural disasters can still apply for OECD assistance.

"Not being able to pay for that help from the aid budget, because a nation's economy was doing well, before a hurricane, earthquake or other disaster hit, was illogical and had to change," said UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.

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