POHNPEI, December 7, 2018 –The World Bank’s Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, has wrapped up her first visit to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), underscoring the growing global recognition of the need for strong support to small island developing states.
During the regional visit, Ms. Kwakwa met with both President Heine of RMI and President Christian of FSM, as well as key ministers and secretaries, development partners, non-governmental organizations and project teams to discuss the implementation and progress of World Bank-funded projects in each country.
“Our partnerships with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are relatively new, yet they are deepening rapidly,” said Ms. Kwakwa. “This is a clear recognition of the scale of the challenges faced by small island states, and our determination to help both countries build resilience, support economic growth, and develop critical human capital.”
In RMI, World Bank assistance from 2017 to 2020 has quadrupled to US$63 million. In FSM, the current 2017-2020 allocation has grown to US$65 million, also representing a fourfold increase.
“While helping address vulnerability to climate change, economic and health shocks is a key driver of our investment in FSM and RMI, the increase is also driven by a strong alignment of interests in terms of their development agendas and the World Bank’s global priorities,” said Ms. Kwakwa.
In RMI, one example of this alignment is between the World Bank’s recently announced Human Capital Project, which is focused on investing in people through nutrition, quality health care, education and skills, and RMI’s focus on strengthening early childhood development. The Early Childhood Development project is a response to a clear request from President Heine to tackle stunting and malnutrition and putting in place early education initiatives that will ensure Marshallese children survive and thrive into a productive adulthood. Other projects in RMI include work on renewable energy, climate and disaster relief investments and insurance, public financial management and coastal and oceanic fisheries.
In FSM, the World Bank is helping to improve connectivity, strengthening public financial management, supporting the sustainability of the fishing industry, and developing the energy sector. Just this week the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a second energy project that will increase reliability and access to power, while scaling up renewable energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels
“We have already achieved a significant amount in a short period of time with FSM and RMI, and throughout this trip I am pleased to be able to convey our commitment to a long-term partnership with each country,” Ms. Kwakwa said. “Going forward, we hope to continue to bring not just financial resources, but also policy advice and technical resources to ensure strong, lasting benefits for their people.”