Pledge to carry forward

Ministry of Economy permanent secretary Makereta Konrote. Fiji took over the chairmanship of the World Bank's Small States Forum. Picture: SUPPLIED

FIJI believes in a World Bank that has a better understanding of the difficulties small states face in accessing development finance.

These were the sentiments echoed by Fiji’s Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as he outlined Fiji’s major priorities while taking over the chairmanship of the World Bank’s Small States Forum at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Annual Group meetings in Bali, Indonesia last week.

“The reality is we do not have the economies of scale enjoyed by larger countries to access finance, and the current rules, procedures and arrangements of the World Bank are built to serve those larger nations, leaving small states in a difficult position,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“This is a burden felt heavily by middle income countries, which currently borrow funds at commercial rates. Given the billions of dollars’ worth of damages that climate-related disasters are causing every year, we think that is unreasonable and we will be working to help these countries access climate finance through grant funding that recognises their extreme vulnerability to climate impacts.”

With the chairmanship under its wings, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has pledged to continue its advocacy for climate action, accessible climate finance and oceans preservation. The chairmanship was handed over to Fiji by the outgoing chair, Grenada.

“I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon Keith Mitchell, for providing excellent leadership over the last two years in his role as chair.

“We in Fiji pledge to carry forward Grenada’s excellent work in focusing our attention on the use of new technologies to overcome development challenges and create climate smart small state economies.”

As Fiji’s Governor, the Attorney-General will also chair the joint IMF and the World Bank Board of Governors meeting at the Annual Meetings in Washington DC in October 2019.

Fiji will chair the Small States Forum for a term of two years, leading a group of 50 countries, central bank governors, World Bank Group Management and partner organisations from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Commonwealth Secretariat, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and IMF to address pressing development challenges and opportunities for small states.

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