American Samoa is a territory of the United States, located in the South Pacific. It is largely a traditional Polynesian economy, where 90 percent of the land is communally owned. The economy of America Samoa is strongly linked to its top trading partner, the United States. American Samoa received a $9.5 million grant from the Office of Insular Affairs under its Capital Improvement Project Program in July 2016. This funding was to bolster projects regarding infrastructure in American Samoa, furthering projects in education, health and transportation.
This grant was split into several avenues to improve the territory. About $1.7 million went to the maintenance or complete overhaul of tugboats belonging to the Department of Port Administration, which serve the main trade location, Pago Pago Harbor. Smaller allotments of the grant went to Pago Pago Port to fix drainage problems and other adverse runoff effects on the coast.
This harbor is crucial for commerce because American Samoa’s tuna industry is a large part of the economy. This harbor allows for exports to the United States, tuna being the backbone of the private sector and canned tuna being the nation’s largest export.
Another large portion of the grant went to the development of education and health. School buses were funded for a better, safer way for students to travel. The construction of a new high school equipped with ten classrooms, a band room and tech shop and maintenance for the Aua Elementary school were included in this expenditure.
The LBJ Tropical Medical Center Labor, Delivery and Operating Room project received $1.7 million. This funding will help to begin development of this medical center that is forecast to cost $14 million in total.
With trade and education underway, current concerns deal with freshwater resources and supplying clean, safe water to the people. Substantial funds from the water division of the government went to improving water catchments and pipelines.
The Economic Development Implementation Plan for American Samoa (EDIPAS) Fiscal Years 2014-2017 is a comprehensive plan to develop infrastructure in American Samoa. This program is critical for the planning of future projects and betterment of infrastructure in American Samoa.
To promote American Samoa as an investment and strengthen group partnership, the EDIPAS is split into seven areas: transportation and infrastructure, new business and industry, federal government constraints and business climate, agriculture, tourism, fisheries and workforce development. Goals set out in this plan and other fiscal plans regarding aid will better equip the government to increase economic development in American Samoa.
– Bronti DeRoche