Fiji is set to receive at least $44 million dollars annually through additional World Bank funding.
For the first time, Fiji has access to funding through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s arm for supporting the world’s most in-need countries, including funding for key regional development projects and to support the country in the event of a crisis.
“We are justifiably proud of the close partnership we are building with the World Bank Group, with recent successes including the Fijian Green Bond – the first of its kind for any developing country – and the Climate Vulnerability Assessment, launched at COP23, both strong testaments to the important role the World Bank Group has played in supporting Fiji’s development,” said Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. “This important development recognizes Fiji’s unique vulnerability, and ensures we are well supported to deliver projects that will ultimately improve life for Fijians across the country.”
The changes have come as a result of revisions to the World Bank’s IDA ‘Small Islands Economies Exception’, first introduced in 1985 in recognition of the unique development challenges that Small Island Economies face primarily due to their vulnerability to natural disasters or long-term impact of climate change. From July 1, Fiji will join fifteen other small island countries – including many other Pacific nations – that receive support through the Exception.
As a result of the revisions, Fiji has now been reclassified as a country eligible for funding from both IDA and the World Bank’s International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), with preferential access to funds from IDA on the most concessional terms, as well as World Bank Group IBRD support on the most favorable terms available; notably 0 percent interest, 10 years grace and 40 years maturity.
“Following the opening of our new South Pacific hub in Suva last month, Fiji’s access to additional funding as a small, particularly vulnerable country is a major positive development for Fiji. It means that Fiji will have access to at least FJ$44m per year to use towards the country’s key development priorities,” said Michel Kerf, the World Bank’s Country Director for Papua New Guinea & the Pacific Islands. “It also means Fiji has access to support from other funding sources within the World Bank’s International Development Association, including the Crisis Response Window, which provides rapid funds in the aftermath of a natural disaster to help with response efforts and begin recovery.”
The revisions also mean Fiji can access additional funding for regionally-focused development projects in areas such as fisheries, ICT, climate resilience, maritime and aviation infrastructure investments. This has the potential to benefit not only Fiji, but also neighboring countries across the South Pacific.