FUNAFUTI, 2 September 2021 – The World Bank Group is strengthening its support of Tuvalu and its people through the signing of an Establishment Agreement with the Government of Tuvalu, opening the door to additional technical support and expertise in a range of areas critical to development and resilience.
Tuvaluan Prime Minister, Hon. Kausea Natano and Tuvaluan Minister of Finance, the Hon. Seve Paeniu, today took part in a signing ceremony with World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Victoria Kwakwa, and International Finance Corporation (IFC) Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, Alfonso Garcia Mora, who both connected virtually from Washington D.C.
"Tuvalu’s partnership with the World Bank Group takes another step forward today through this new agreement, which will strengthen our partnership, and deliver greater support to our country and our people,” said Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance, the Hon. Seve Paeniu.
The new agreement reflects the World Bank Group’s rapidly growing engagement in the Pacific, with similar agreements now in place in other countries across the region. The Establishment Agreement will enable the World Bank and IFC to deepen their connection with Tuvalu. Through the World Bank Group’s South Pacific hub in Suva it will continue to bring in regional and global technical support and expertise in macroeconomics, education, health, public sector management, maritime transport, aviation, information and communications technology, disaster resilience, as well as private-sector knowledge and influence to create markets and opportunities.
The World Bank works in partnership with 12 countries across the Pacific, supporting 86 projects totaling US$2.06 billion in commitments in sectors including agriculture, health, education and employment, climate resilience and adaptation, energy, fisheries, rural development, economic policy, macroeconomic management, aviation and transport, telecommunications, and tourism.
Tuvalu became a member of the World Bank in 2010, with the first World Bank project in Tuvalu delivering a major revitalization of Funafuti International Airport.
“The World Bank’s support to Tuvalu has significantly increased since it became a member of the World Bank eleven years ago; we have delivered approximately US$140.8 million across 13 projects, with seven projects active today,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank’s Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific. “This agreement now makes possible a more established presence in Tuvalu that will enable us to strengthen our partnership and better support the government and people of Tuvalu to navigate the impacts of COVID-19 and strengthen Tuvalu’s resilience to the effects of climate change.”
As the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, IFC is committed to working with Tuvalu, and other nations across the Pacific, to foster conditions conducive to attracting private sector investment to tackle development challenges. Tuvalu became a member of IFC in 2019, a year after launching its first private sector development plan.
“IFC clearly recognizes that an island state like Tuvalu, one of the smallest and most remote countries in the world, faces unique challenges, and we look forward to sharing our expertise to support the country’s private sector development plan to promote economic growth and jobs,” said IFC Vice President for Asia and the Pacific Alfonso Garcia Mora. “The private sector has a critical role to play in reigniting economic growth, and IFC will work with the Government of Tuvalu and our colleagues at the World Bank to identify reforms to improve the investment climate and promote private sector solutions that can create greater opportunities for all citizens of Tuvalu.”
Aside from its South Pacific hub in Suva, the World Bank Group has offices in Funafuti, Nuku’alofa, Apia, Honiara, Port Moresby, Port Vila, and Tarawa, and plans for a North Pacific office in the Federated States of Micronesia.
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