World Bank Country Director to meet with Government
HONIARA, January 29, 2014 – The Solomon Islands Government today signed agreements with the World Bank for a sustainable fisheries project, funding support for rural poverty alleviation and flood relief, as well as continued economic and fiscal reform.
World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, Franz Drees-Gross signed the agreements with Solomon Islands Minister of Finance Snyder Rini in Honiara.
During his two-day country visit, Mr Drees-Gross will also meet members of the Solomon Islands Government who assumed office late last year, including Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the Finance Minister.
The Finance Minister Hon. Snyder Rini said, “The World Bank’s support is aligned with the Government’s plan to drive economic growth, improve the lives of rural people and carry out economic and financial reform.”
The signing included agreements for three projects approved and announced in late 2014:
- US$11.12 million for a Solomon Islands investment project under the Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP) – consisting of US$5.17 million in grants (including $US1.37 million from the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund) and US$5.95 million credit.
- A separate US$6.16 million grant for the Forum Fisheries Agency under the Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP).
- US$9 million for the Rural Development Program Phase Two (RDP II) comprising of a US$4 million grant and a US$5 million credit; and a US$13.3 million (AU$15 million) grant in RDP II contribution from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- A US$5 million grant for an Economic Reform and Recovery Development Policy Operation.
“The three projects we are signing today will support the people of the Solomon Islands with the opportunities needed to lead more prosperous, sustainable and resilient lives,” said Mr Drees-Gross. “The projects are also indicative of the strong relationship between the World Bank and the Solomon Islands Government, as well as other development partners including the Australian Government, who have contributed significantly to the second phase of the Rural Development Program.”
In the Solomon Islands, PROP will build the capacity of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to better manage coastal and ocean tuna fisheries, including improving vessel monitoring and the ability of communities to carry out coastal fisheries activities.
PROP will engage with the Forum Fisheries Agency to provide regional coordination, implementation support, training and monitoring and evaluation for participating countries such as the Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
“PROP will assist Pacific Island country Governments and citizens to improve the sustainable management of their coastal and ocean fisheries, which is critical to regional economic integration and growth,” said the Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency James Movick at the signing ceremony. “PROP will build on existing fisheries management policies and frameworks already adopted by governments and administrations in the region.”
RDP II will continue to target rural poverty and is expected to benefit approximately 375,000 people, and improve rural community access to services such as water supply, health and education facilities, transport and energy. In addition, approximately 17,000 smallholder farming households, agribusiness owners and agriculture contributors will benefit from RDP II through investments in agriculture productivity, marketing and business partnerships.
The US$5 million Economic Reform and Recovery Development Policy Operation will provide rapid financing to assist recovery from severe flooding in 2014 and support the Solomon Islands Government’s ongoing financial and economic reform agenda.
“The Solomon Islands economy has grown relatively strongly over the last ten years” concluded Mr. Drees-Gross. “However, the floods of April last year, and the closure of Gold Ridge Mine, demonstrate how fragile this growth can be and the importance of continuing to explore sustainable growth opportunities and improvements in how services are delivered to rural communities.”