The World Bank is rapidly increasing its assistance in the Pacific Islands region with a significant increase in funds available through the International Development Association (IDA). Working in partnership with 12 countries across the region, the World Bank is currently supporting 105 projects across the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea, totaling US$3.2 billion in commitments through a combination of IBRD and IDA financing, trust funds, and co-financing. The World Bank’s work in Fiji and Solomon Islands is guided by individual country strategies.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Bank-funded COVID-19 health projects in Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Samoa – and funding for the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – has supported preparedness and response efforts, delivered protection for health workers, increased testing capacity and essential supplies, and supported vaccine rollouts.
Economic recovery support – including helping businesses and services rebuild and recover – will continue throughout 2023 and 2024.
Pacific Island countries are at the forefront of climate change and disasters, and projects across the region are helping to strengthen countries’ resilience. The Pacific Resilience Program is helping Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu to build early warning systems, strengthen disaster policies and community resilience, and obtain quick access to finance after a disaster.
Agriculture is vital for many Pacific Island countries, particularly as most of the region’s population live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for food security and livelihoods. In Samoa, where almost 70% of the population are employed in agriculture, the World Bank is working with farmers and fishers to improve livestock, farming and fishing practices.
The sustainable management of the environment and natural resources across the Pacific is vital to the region’s future. The Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program is helping Pacific countries coordinate sustainable management of tuna fisheries to ensure the benefits are maximized for each country’s future growth and development and helps countries sustainably manage their coastal fisheries and critical habitats while providing regional support to the Forum Fisheries Agency.
In health, in addition to COVID-19 preparedness and response support, the World Bank is supporting Pacific countries to strengthen government-led analysis, planning, budgeting, management, and monitoring for more efficient and equitable health services.
The Marshall Islands Multisectoral Early Childhood Development Project, through its first and Second Phase, is investing in maternal and child health, as well as early childhood stimulation and preschool services, with a focus on the first 1,000 days of life. The Samoa Health System Strengthening Program aims to improve access to health care in rural areas, particularly focusing on addressing non-communicable diseases.
The Tuvalu Learning Project is supporting early education and literacy by engaging parents and communities, and by strengthening teaching at preschool, primary and secondary levels.
Transport is essential to the Pacific Islands region to connect people to markets, schools, hospitals and family, often over vast distances of ocean. Through a consistent approach to address climate change impacts, projects are now underway to improve the resilience of key roads, ports and other transport infrastructure in the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. This work aims to better connect communities – including those in remote and outer island communities - while protecting infrastructure against the impacts of climate change.
A dedicated aviation program has delivered major reconstruction works to airports and runways in Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; helping to make air travel safer and more efficient across the Pacific, and the World Bank also supports the Fiji Transport Infrastructure Investment Project, which focuses on sea transport to help better connect Fijians.
Digital development is vital for connecting people, especially in geographically dispersed Pacific Island countries. Through the Pacific Regional Connectivity Program, the Pacific is being connected to faster, cheaper and more reliable internet. Our support is also helping to connect outer islands to broadband, strengthen the regulatory environment for the digital economy, and establish the Government’s capacity to deliver digital services through the Tonga Digital Government Support Project along with digital development projects in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.
Due to high population growth and high unemployment, access to jobs is critical in many Pacific countries. Faced with high secondary school drop-out rates, the Skills and Employment for Tongans Project is supporting the Tongan government to implement a cash transfer program to incentivize families to keep their children in secondary school. In Solomon Islands, the Community Access and Urban Services Enhancement Project is providing skills training for 5,300 people from major towns across Solomon Islands.
In the energy sector, the World Bank is working with the governments of the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands to enhance the reliability of electricity supply, improve energy efficiency, and scale up renewable energy generation.
In Solomon Islands, energy work includes the major Tina River Hydro Development Project as well as investments in grid-connected solar, which will more than double the amount of grid connected solar on the Honiara electricity network.
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2022