Ten Pacific Island countries which are members of the World Bank have a population of about 3.4 million people, scattered across an area equivalent to 15 percent of the globe’s surface, with a development trajectory that will be shaped by their economic geography.
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World Bank approves US$47.5 million for the Palau-Federated States of Micronesia Connectivity ProjectWASHINGTON, December 17, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved the se... Show More +cond phase of the Pacific Regional Connectivity Program (PRCP) – addressing the need for more widespread access to Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in the Northern Pacific.The project will support more widely available broadband internet and associated value-added services needed to support social and economic development in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) by reducing the cost and increasing the capacity of international bandwidth.“This phase of the Pacific Regional Connectivity Program will assist the Federated States of Micronesia in overcoming its challenges of remoteness and dispersed geography,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. “Increasing access to affordable ICT will allow individuals, businesses, government and nongovernment agencies in the FSM to take advantage of the benefits better connectivity can bring, including improved social and economic opportunities and better service delivery.”The project consists of a US$47.5 million grant to the FSM, to be co-financed by a planned US$25 million Asian Development Bank loan to the Republic of Palau. PRCP will support the construction of submarine cable systems to connect Palau with the FSM state of Yap and the US territory of Guam; and the FSM states of Chuuk and Pohnpei; as well as the provision of next generation satellite broadband for the FSM state of Kosrae.In addition to infrastructure investment, the project will provide technical assistance to the FSM to further improve the environment for ICT development, including a strengthened regulatory framework overseen by a new independent regulator – building on pro-competitive legislation enacted in April 2014. The MicroPal Fiber Optic Joint Committee established by the Governments of the FSM and the Republic of Palau will oversee planning and implementation of the project.The second phase of the Pacific Regional Connectivity Program is funded through a US$47.5 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. The first phase of this program was the Tonga-Fiji Connectivity Project, co-financed with the Asian Development Bank and Tonga Communications Corporation. The cable to Tonga became operational in August 2013. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, November 21, 2014—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$5 million for the Economic Reform and Recovery Development Policy Operation which will support continued e... Show More +conomic and financial reform and provide rapid financing to deal with the impacts of the severe flooding which hit the nation in April 2014.The operation supports a program of targeted policy reforms to improve the management of public expenditure and debt; strengthen the administration of the mining sector and its associated revenues; and foster healthy regulatory conditions for private sector investment.“The Solomon Islands Government is dedicated to a course of sustained reform to deliver improved standards of public finance management and better conditions for private investment,” said Mr. Fred Fakari’i, Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Finance. “The Solomon Islands’ recovery following the events of April 2014 is well underway and we look forward to continuing to work with the World Bank to maintain momentum.”The operation will ensure the momentum of the Government’s program of economic reforms, while also providing funds for flood recovery and rehabilitation. Specific policy changes will target the revision of guarantees to State-Owned Enterprises and transparency in awarding scholarships for tertiary education; greater transparency of the mining industry and the streamlining of the mining tax regime; and establishment of a land board to improve governance of urban land and bolster private sector investment.“We are working with the Solomon Islands Government to ensure the long-term resilience of their economy through reforms that will ultimately boost shared prosperity and improve the living standards of the nation’s most vulnerable people – many of whom were affected by the April 2014 floods,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands.The grant of US$5 million from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) includes US$2 million from the Crisis Response Window (CRW) – the World Bank’s special fund for use following exceptionally severe natural disasters and regional economic shocks. Show Less -
More than 350,000 People Expected to BenefitHONIARA, November 21, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$9 million to support the second phase of the Solomon Islands Ru... Show More +ral Development Program (RDP II), one of the Government’s main instruments to address rural poverty.RDP II aims to alleviate rural poverty and provide social and economic opportunities in rural areas through activities that will expand community infrastructure and services, and strengthen the linkages of smallholder-farming households to markets.“The first phase of the Rural Development Program has shown that rural communities across the country can and will work together to manage their own development,” said Anne Tully, World Bank Country Representative for Solomon Islands. “This second phase of the Rural Development Program will leverage the resources of the private sector to bring services to farmers, strengthen agriculture value chains, and increase rural incomes.”Specifically, the program will build on and refine the community-driven development grants and services developed during the first phase of the Rural Development Program; assist farming households to engage in productive partnerships with commercial enterprises; build the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to deliver its core functions of regulation, research and sector coordination; and deliver funds to ensure the effective overall management of the finance, procurement, evaluation and environmental safeguards components of the program.RDP II is expected to provide benefits to approximately 65,000 households – approximately 357,500 people, or 65 percent of the national population of 550,000 people. The majority of these households (about 48,000) will benefit from improved community-driven rural services including water supply, health and education facilities, transport, and energy. Approximately 17,000 smallholder farming households, agribusiness owners and other contributors to agriculture value-chains will also benefit from investments to improve agricultural productivity, marketing, and ultimately, incomes.The grant of US$9 million from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) includes US$4 million from the Crisis Response Window (CRW) – the World Bank’s special fund for use following exceptionally severe natural disasters and regional economic shocks. CRW funding will be used to repair or rebuild small-scale infrastructure, agriculture and livestock assets damaged or lost in the April 2014 floods.The project will be implemented through the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Show Less -