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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Certainty of salaries for government workersFor government workers in Vanuatu, the most frustrating day of the week has traditionally been every second Friday, which is Pay Day for the country’s civil... Show More + servants. With government payment systems often unreliable, the prospect of not getting paid for days – even weeks – has, in the past, been the source of enormous frustration for many.And for thousands of government employees – the teachers, doctors, nurses and officials that live and work in this 83-island nation spread across more than 12,000-square kilometers – that frustration would be compounded by having to make a difficult decision: pay the fee for the journey to the nearest bank (often hours away and on neighboring islands), or wait a few more days to give payments the extra time to be made.“I would need to take a long truck journey to go to the bank,” explained Helen Lingtamat, a secretary at the Malekula office of the Vanuatu Public Solicitor’s Office. “Without a mobile, we had to take transport to go to the bank, just to check our accounts.”When prices of mobile phones came down, Helen bought one and is now an avid user of the National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV)’s recently introduced isiMS system, which provides simple SMS-based account balance updates.“I receive an SMS when my pay is in my account,” says Helen. “I don’t have to buy credit and I don’t have to pay for transport–100 vatu to go down to the bank, and then another 100 vatu to go back to my house.”With the support of the World Bank and other partners, including the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, Vanuatu is one of several countries in the Pacific region that has benefitted from the recent telecommunications revolution, which has helped give over 2 million more people access to mobile phones in a short space of time.This is helping Pacific islanders access services, reach families and do business, in distinctly Pacific ways. Show Less -
Kingdom of Tonga - First Economic Reform Support Development Policy OperationIDA Grant: US$2.5 million equivalentIDA Credit: US$2.5 million equivalentTerms: Maturity = 40 years; Grace = 10 yearsProjec... Show More +t ID: P144601Project Description: The objective of the project is to improve the mobilization and use of public resources while addressing constraints to private sector development. Show Less -
Coverage increases to help 6 Pacific Island Nations better respond to natural disasters SYDNEY, November 1, 2013 – The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot was renewed today for its second se... Show More +ason, with Cook Islands newly joining five other participating Pacific island countries - Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu - to gain insurance coverage against earthquake, tsunami and tropical cyclone risk. The second season will run from November 1, 2013 to October 31, 2014.The insurance scheme aims to provide a rapid injection of funds in the event of a major disaster, to help governments manage the immediate costs of recovery. Access to post-disaster finance can be especially important for Pacific island countries which endure some of the highest average annual losses from natural hazards in the world – up to 6.6% of GDP."Becoming a member of the Pacific catastrophe risk insurance program provides us with an innovative way to work with other countries in the region and transfer some of the catastrophe risk borne by Pacific island nations to the international reinsurance market,” said Mark Brown, Minister of Finance and Economic Management for the Cook Islands. “This transaction provides us with another tool towards becoming self-reliant in disaster management, response and recovery."The scheme’s expansion follows the request of countries during this year’s Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Tonga to grow the program beyond the five pilot countries. Aggregate insurance coverage of the participating countries has increased from US$45 million to US$67 million, with further premium reductions for participating countries.“The expansion of the insurance pilot in the Pacific is a positive sign towards the long-term sustainability of the program,” said Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the Pacific Islands at the World Bank. “Rapid access to emergency funds can be crucial for governments in the wake of a disaster when time is of the essence, and catastrophe insurance could play an important part in this process.”As in the first pilot season, the World Bank will act as an intermediary between Pacific island countries and a group of reinsurance companies, which were selected through a competitive bidding process – Sompo Japan Insurance, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and Swiss Re. AIR Worldwide provides the underlying risk modeling for the transaction.Launched on 17 January 2013, the pilot is made possible through the collective efforts of the Government of Japan, the World Bank, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). It tests a risk transfer arrangement modeled on an insurance plan, and uses ‘parametric triggers’, such as cyclone intensity or earthquake magnitude to determine payouts, which enable quick disbursements. The international reinsurance market has responded positively to the scheme, and has underwritten the portfolio of Pacific catastrophe risks at competitive prices.The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot is part of the broader Pacific Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI) program that is designed to increase the financial resilience of Pacific island countries against natural disasters by improving their capacity to meet post-disaster funding needs. Through this program advisory services are available to Pacific island countries for public financial management of natural disasters, including (i) the development of a national disaster risk financing strategy, recognizing the need for ex-ante and ex-post financial tools; (ii) post disaster budget execution, to ensure that funds can be accessed and disbursed easily post disaster; and (iii) the insurance of key public assets, to contribute to post disaster reconstruction financing.The Pacific DRFI Program is part of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), a joint initiative of the World Bank, SPC, and the Asian Development Bank with financial support from the Government of Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the European Union. PCRAFI, launched in 2007, aims to provide the Pacific island nations with disaster risk assessment and financing tools for enhanced disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. Show Less -
Tuvalu - Aviation Investment Project [Additional Financing]IDA Grant: US6.06 million equivalentProject ID: P145310Project Description: The objective of the project is to improve the safety and securit... Show More +y of air transport and associated infrastructure. The project will resurface the paved roads in Funafuti which provide access to the airport, provide fresh water storage, and support exporting solid waste from Funafuti atoll. Show Less -
Sydney, Australia October 29, 2013—Palau, Tonga, and Vanuatu are among the Pacific region’s top performers when it comes to implementing business reforms over the last year, according to the World Ban... Show More +k Group’s annual report measuring the ease of doing business in 189 economies across the globe.Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises finds that Palau introduced legislation that strengthened secured transaction systems and made it easier to enforce contracts, while Vanuatu and Tonga established private credit bureaus to improve access to finance.“Creating an enabling business environment and attractive investment climate are key to increasing income and reducing poverty, so it is very encouraging to see some of the smaller Pacific island nations introducing effective reforms over the last 12 months,” said IFC’s Senior Operations Officer for the Pacific Jonathon Kirkby. “Overall, the Pacific is still a relatively difficult place to do business, and much work still needs to be done across the region to open up business opportunities that create jobs and improve lives.”IFC is working with a number of Pacific governments on projects that will help improve their investment climate and make it easier to do business. The Papua New Guinea government is working with IFC and New Zealand Aid to introduce the country’s first online business registry. Timor-Leste has recently introduced the SERVE one-stop-shop where business owners can obtain a commercial registration certificate, license, and tax identification number from a single counter, cutting down the time required to complete these procedures.Across the Asia-Pacific region, the Doing Business report finds that since 2005, 24 of 25 economies have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. Among the region’s economies, China made the greatest progress during that time in improving business regulation for local entrepreneurs.Singapore continues to provide the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China. In the past year, 15 of 25 economies in East Asia and the Pacific implemented at least one regulatory reform making it easier to do business.Joining Singapore and Hong Kong on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations this year are, in this order, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Norway, and the United Kingdom. This year’s report features a case study on the Republic of Korea’s electronic court system for enforcing contracts, Malaysia’s electronic system for paying taxes, and Singapore’s single-window system for trading across borders.In addition to the global rankings, every year Doing Business reports the economies that have improved the most on the indicators since the previous year. The 10 economies topping that list this year are (in order of improvement) Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemala. Yet challenges persist: five of this year’s top improvers—Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Philippines, and Ukraine—are still in the bottom half of the global ranking on the ease of doing business as measured by the report.About the Doing Business report seriesThe joint World Bank and IFC flagship Doing Business report analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 189 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. This year’s report marks the 11th edition of the global Doing Business report series and covers 189 economies. For more information about the Doing Business reports, please visit doingbusiness.org and join us on doingbusiness.org/Facebook.About the World Bank GroupThe World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org. Show Less -