World Bank to raise funding for Samoa

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi ,

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World Bank’s Vice President of the East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa.

World Bank’s Vice President of the East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa.

The World Bank is to “significantly increase” its support for Samoa over the next few years. 

The assistance will come from the International Development Association funds available to the Pacific region, which covers Samoa. 

The Fund is to increase from US$360million to US$900 million. 

How much of that money will be given to Samoa is not clear.

But the Bank’s Vice President of East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, who is in the country assured Samoa stands to benefit a great deal.

“The World Bank has been a long-term partner of Samoa, and our team is proud of what we have already achieved together, including supporting the reconstruction of key roads, and the reinvigoration of the Samoan agriculture sector,” said Ms. Kwakwa. 

“This significant increase in support to Samoa, through the International Development Association, ensures we will be able to build on these successes to ensure the Samoan government’s development priorities can become a reality over the coming years.”

The Vice President met with Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti yesterday.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved together,” she said. “I think we’re at a moment in time where we can do even better.  At this time we have the opportunity to provide more financial support to the country.

“The support that the World Bank brings to Samoa is provided under the international Development Association or (I.D.A.), which is a branch of the World Bank that provides resources to the neediest countries including the Small states, such as Samoa. 

“We just completed a replenishment in which the resources in I.D.A., for the next three years have been boosted significantly through donor contributions but also through a new mechanism or approach such as going to the market and raising resources.

“For every dollar that a donor country like New Zealand gives, I.D.A. provides an additional three.  We’ve really grown the volume for resources and it positions us in a much stronger place to support our countries particularly, Samoa.”  

Ms. Kwakwa also met the Governor of the Central Bank Samoa. Maiava Atalina Enari and non government organization representatives.

“We need to do better and think strategically about where the government’s priorities would be for using a significant scale up of resources of I.D.A.  Samoa would benefit considerably from the resources that we’re able to bring to the table and it will increase by three fold.   

“This is a fantastic opportunity but we have to approach it with a very strategic orientation, with our feet on the ground and to know what our comparative advantage is and what we’re able to do or cannot do.  

“We also have to listen to the government in what its interested in seeing us do.  We hope that doing this, we can end up with a programme of work that is really transformational and brings a delta if I should say to our proceedings.” 

“Pacific Possible Report which looks at several opportunities for progress in the Pacific in terms of growth in the economy and growth of incomes and growth of government revenues and had that conversation with Non government stakeholders.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa welcomed Ms. Kwakwa’s visit.

 “It is a pleasure to have the Vice President here for her first visit to Samoa,” he said. “We are appreciative of the long-standing, strong relationship we share with the World Bank, and I look forward to deeper engagement as we decide where the announced increase in available support could have substantial benefits and effective outcomes for the people of Samoa.”

Yesterday, Ms. Kwakwa spent time visiting projects that the World Bank helped to fund. 

These include the construction of the Leone Bridge that the World Bank supported through their Enhanced Road Access Project.  

She will also join the government and representatives from the Australian government, Asian Development Bank and other partners for a ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Savai’i component of the Tui-Samoa submarine cable, the World Bank-funded project to help Samoa meet its growing demand for high-speed, reliable internet.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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