New World Bank support to strengthen Fiji’s business environment, improve access to finance, and boost resilience to climate change
8 November, 2019, 8:20 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 7, 2019 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$64 million in support for Fiji’s efforts to strengthen its medium-term fiscal sustainability, improve the country’s business climate, and build resilience to climate change.
The new operation will also support enhancements to Fiji’s business environment through improvements to Fiji’s business registration procedures, as well as improved access to finance – particularly for women. It is the second in a series of two World Bank operations to support Fiji.
“Fiji’s surging partnership with the World Bank is represented by far more than the monetary value of development assistance. It represents climate-resilient infrastructure, opportunities for Fijian entrepreneurs – particularly women – and a surer pathway towards Fiji’s sustainable development. This significant funding commitment from the World Bank is testament to Fiji’s advocacy for expanding access to climate finance and our strategic effort to bolster our fiscal sustainability,” said Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
“We look forward to working with the World Bank – and all of our development partners – to continue growing the pool of development finance in the interest of protecting our progress from climate impacts, empowering Fijians to seize economic opportunities and keeping our economy on a sustainable trajectory of growth.”
“Our growing partnership with Fiji is based on a strong spirit of working together to tackle complex challenges,” said Michel Kerf, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “We are pleased to be delivering support to Fiji that will ultimately deliver more stability to Fiji’s economy, more climate-resilient infrastructure, and an improved business environment that will ensure more people – particularly Fijian women – can start and grow their businesses.”
This operation is aligned with Fiji’s National Development Plan and will support government efforts to strengthen fiscal sustainability. It has been developed in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the New Zealand Government. It will also support efforts to strengthen private sector investment in Fiji with support from the World Bank’s sister organization, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), including through improving policies on investment and work to help streamline the approval processes for starting a business.
In addition, the operation will strengthen the disaster and climate resilience of schools, homes, and critical transport and water supply infrastructure, including through improved guidelines and implementation of Fiji’s building code. These improvements will aim to help save lives, prevent the loss of infrastructure and reduce the risk of major shocks to Fiji’s economy. 2016’s Cyclone Winston, for example, caused FJ$2.9 billion (US$1.3 billion) in damages and losses; the equivalent of nearly 20 percent of the country’s GDP.
The operation consists of two individual US$29 million credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the most in-need countries, in addition to a US$6 million loan through the World Bank’s International Bank of Reconstruction & Development (IBRD). One of these two IDA credits is being delivered through the World Bank’s IDA Scale-Up Facility, provided to select projects that deliver transformative impacts. The operation also benefits from technical assistance from the ADB, the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the European Union (EU), together with support the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre.
Earlier this year the World Bank Group opened its new South Pacific hub in the Fijian capital, Suva, and in July 2019 Fiji gained access to funding through IDA. With the addition of this new operation, the World Bank currently has active projects in Fiji totaling FJ$262 million (US$120 million) in commitments across sectors including telecommunications, transport and climate resilience.