The government of Fiji and the World Bank Group signed an agreement on August 30th that will support deepened cooperation through a larger, more established presence in Suva, which will act as a hub for the development bank’s operations across the South Pacific.
The larger World Bank Group presence in Suva will facilitate greater support for projects both in Fiji and the region, with more technical staff with expertise in macroeconomic policy, public sector management, maritime transport, aviation, information communications and technology, and disaster resilience.
Hon. Prime Minister Rear Admiral J.V. Bainimarama and World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, attended the signing ceremony.
“Today, with the execution of the Establishment Agreement, we officially welcome the World Bank Group to Fiji,” said Prime Minister Bainimarama. “Our relationship with the World Bank Group is growing and your presence in Fiji will not only benefit Fiji but all Pacific countries, as together there are many opportunities for the development of the Pacific Region.”
“An enhanced presence in Suva will enable us to better deliver in Fiji and the Pacific and increase our contribution to the region’s development in a variety of sectors, from fisheries to climate change,” said Kwakwa.
The establishment agreement also includes a potentially larger presence for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.
“Entrepreneurship and private sector dynamism is an important engine of economic growth. IFC looks forward to deepening our engagement with the government on supporting private sector development to achieve more inclusive growth,” said IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Vivek Pathak, who was represented at the ceremony by IFC Country Manager for the Pacific, Tom Jacobs.
Kwakwa also met with Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, to discuss the increased World Bank Group presence in Suva, as well as Fiji’s presidency of October’s COP23 meeting in Bonn, Germany.
Kwakwa’s visit to Fiji comes ahead of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Apia, Samoa, where she will meet with heads of state and development partners, and lead the launch of the World Bank’s flagship report for the region Pacific Possible, which has identified the key transformational opportunities and risks for the region until 2040.
The Vice President’s travel through the region also includes a visit to Kiribati on Thursday to meet with government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations, and to visit projects supported by the World Bank.