World Bank directors approve US$50 million to improve transport infrastructure
WASHINGTON, March 11 2015 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$50 million for the Transport Infrastructure Investment Project (TIIP) in Fiji, the first major World Bank investment in the country since 1992. It also is the first investment initiated under the new World Bank Group Country Engagement Note for Fiji.
The TIIP project will improve the resilience and safety of land and maritime transport infrastructure, including roads, bridges and rural jetties and wharves – all essential to the daily lives of Fijians. It will reduce a backlog of urgent repairs caused by the deferral of maintenance since 2012.
“For many Fijians, access to reliable and safe roads, wharves, and jetties is essential to inclusive economic growth and social development because it facilitates access to employment, education, health care, and other services,” said Franz Drees-Gross, the World Bank country director in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “The World Bank looks forward to partnering with the government of Fiji to deliver vital improvements to the transport infrastructure.”
Under the TIIP, US$46 million will be used to rehabilitate, reconstruct and upgrade existing roads, bridges and rural wharves and jetties to more resilient standards. An additional US$4 million will support project supervision, update the design and construction standards for roads and bridges, and support ongoing initiatives to build safer roads.
The Asian Development Bank will undertake additional parallel work to build government capacity in the transport sector, such as improving planning and project assessment skills for staff in the Fiji Roads Authority and other ministries and agencies.
“Ensuring the safety of our transport infrastructure is crucial,” said Neil Cook, chief executive of the Fiji Roads Authority. “We’re looking forward to deepening our partnership with the World Bank and other development partners to deliver transport infrastructure that will provide more reliable access for Fijians.”
The TIIP marks the resumption of lending in Fiji by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) – the World Bank’s fund for middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries – after a 23-year hiatus. Its launch resumes full World Bank Group engagement in Fiji.
The Country Engagement Note outlines a two-year strategy to improve the World Bank Group’s knowledge base on Fiji and provide time to engage the government on a more complete set of development priorities. It seeks to strengthen the foundation for inclusive, private sector-led growth and protect vulnerable populations.
The TIIP will be funded through a US$50 million IBRD loan, US$100.7 million from the Asian Development Bank and US$16.8 million from the government of Fiji.