Vice President Victoria Kwakwa makes inaugural visit to Pacific Island nation
TARAWA, KIRIBATI, August 31, 2017 – World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Victoria Kwakwa is in Kiribati on an inaugural visit to discuss with senior government officials the development priorities of the Pacific Island nation and the prospects for the region, as outlined in the World Bank’s upcoming flagship report Pacific Possible.
“It’s an honor to welcome the Vice President to Kiribati and to show her some true i-Kiribati hospitality,” said Hon. Dr. Teuea Toatu, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, during the bilateral meeting. “We have a strong relationship with the World Bank and are looking forward to furthering our work, including the development of the outer islands and improving connectivity through a new high-speed internet cable connection.”
The World Bank currently supports six projects across the country, totaling US$90 million, including an upgrading of the South Tarawa Road – a vital link used by all 50,000 people living in Tarawa, initiatives to boost solar energy generation, and adaptation activities to better prepare the island for the impacts of climate change.
“We are excited about strengthening our partnership with the government and people of Kiribati,” said Kwakwa. “We look forward to extending the fruits of this partnership to more people, especially in the outer islands, including through infrastructure and other priority areas identified by the government.”
Several planned initiatives will improve the quality of public services as well as strengthen the country’s competitiveness and investment climate. These projects include a high-speed internet connection to Tarawa scheduled for late 2019; a water and sanitation project to be undertaken in partnership with the Asian Development Bank; and investments in Kiribati’s outer islands, particularly key maritime infrastructure like jetties and wharves.
While in the country, Ms. Kwakwa will also travel to North Tarawa to see initiatives under phase three of the Kiribati Adaptation Program, including rainwater harvesting systems and officiate at the groundbreaking ceremony for a water reticulation project on South Tarawa.
Following her visit to Kiribati, Ms. Kwakwa will join the 48th Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ Meeting, where she and the Hon. Prime Minister of Samoa will formally launch the Pacific Possible report to participating heads of state.