Sydney Australia, February 27, 2015 – World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Axel van Trotsenburg has today wrapped up a successful visit to the region where he discussed the World Bank’s engagement with various partners and tabled the initial concept for a new regional report – Pacific Possible.
“The past week has been an incredibly valuable trip which has afforded me the chance to speak directly with both development partners and beneficiaries of the many World Bank projects delivering for the Pacific,” van Trotsenburg said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the countries for their warm hospitality.”
Mr. van Trotsenburg and a small team of World Bank officials spent time in Australia and New Zealand to talk over continued partnership and the support of projects throughout the region. In Fiji the delegation met with Prime Minister Bainimarama and the Finance Minister to discuss the Bank’s re-launching of development programs in the nation, as well as the Pacific Islands Forum and the South Pacific Commission to discuss Pacific Possible.
In Samoa and Tonga the delegation met with Prime Ministers Malielegaoi and Pohiva respectively to discuss ongoing projects, as well as the Chambers of Commerce for constructive feedback on Pacific Possible. A number of projects were also visited, including plant and livestock agriculture developments in Samoa, and post-cyclone home reconstruction on the island of Ha’apai in Tonga.
“I make a deliberate effort to visit the Pacific Island countries when I come to the region”, van Trotsenburg said. “This was my first visit to Samoa, Fiji and Tonga and I have been impressed by each nation’s commitment to tangible, progressive reform agendas through sustainable development.”
“The World Bank stands ready as long-term partner in action to continue its support for the Pacific region, and to help Governments to meet the objectives they’ve identified as priorities,” van Trotsenburg said.
Mr. van Trotsenburg consulted with the public and private sectors on the concept of a planned report titled Pacific Possible that will analyze key development opportunities with significant potential for long-term impact. Some of the focus areas being considered include: tourism, ocean resources, knowledge economy, labor mobility, working together, and threats.
“Pacific Possible was very well-received by both governments and the private sector during our concept consultations,” van Trotsenburg explained. “We’re pleased that the countries we’ve visited are keen to partner with us on this and capitalize on the World Bank’s extensive experience in using data and analysis to produce reports on development options to solve challenges facing countries and regions.”
Mr. van Trotsenburg will return to his base in Washington D.C. later today.