World Bank Group

01/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/21/2021 15:21

New World Bank Group Plan for Fiji to Focus on Recovery and Resilience from COVID-19 and Cyclones

WASHINGTON, January 21, 2021 - , aimed at boosting the Fijian economy and strengthening its fiscal, climate and social resilience following the impacts of two tropical cyclones, and the devastating fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework for Fiji, the first for Fiji, provides a strategic road-map of priority activities over the next four years for World Bank Group member organizations: the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which focuses on the private sector in developing countries; and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which offers risk insurance and credit enhancement guarantees.

Central to the strategy is a focus on supporting Fiji's recovery from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, as well as severe Tropical Cyclones Harold and Yasa; all three events having hit Fiji in 2020, in addition to the ongoing impacts of climate change.

'2020 demonstrated just how vulnerable Fiji, like other Pacific countries, can be to massive external shocks. The key initiatives in this framework will help us accelerate our recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and cyclones, and strengthen our resilience to future disasters,' said Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji's Attorney-General and Minister for Economy.

'The partnership we are building with the World Bank Group continues to strengthen, and it will help us put in place critical foundations to address the impacts of the pandemic and continue to build a more resilient Fiji. We look forward to working with our partners, including civil society and the private sector, to help deliver many of the initiatives in this plan.'

The World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework for Fiji has two major focus areas:

  • Focus Area 1: Fostering Private Sector-led Growth and Inclusive Economic Opportunities - focuses on creating investment and business opportunities; more jobs; improved access to finance; boosting the tourism and agriculture sectors; as well as better infrastructure, digital services and more clean energy.
  • Focus Area 2: Building Resilience - includes support to help Fiji gain access to funds both before and after a disaster strikes; improve emergency planning and increase resilient infrastructure; protect the environment and develop a sustainable Blue Economy; strengthen community resilience to climate and public health emergencies; and provide social assistance to help families and businesses that are in critical need.

The Framework is underpinned by an emphasis on strengthening governance and supporting gender equality. This work will include creating more jobs for women and helping to address gender-based violence in the country. The framework is closely aligned with Fiji's National Development Plan and was developed in close consultation with government, civil society and the private sector.

'The World Bank Group's support to Fiji has increased significantly in the past five years and we are delighted to see our partnership deepen further. Over the next four years, the World Bank will be programming more than US$210 million (FJ$429 million) to support the implementation of this strategy; the most consequential level of support ever and most of it on highly-concessional terms,' said Lasse Melgaard, World Bank Resident Representative for Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga & Tuvalu.'At its core, the Framework supports Fiji's forward planning to boost its economic recovery from COVID-19 and further strengthen Fiji's resilience to future climate and public health emergencies.'

IFC is mobilizing in excess of $300 million in capital to help finance major projects in Fiji over the next four years, including in the areas of healthcare, renewable energy and affordable housing.

'Since IFC first invested in Fiji's first international hotel on Denarau Island back in 1985 we have been working closely with the Fijian Government and the private sector to create markets and lift prosperity and we look forward to broadening this partnership in the years ahead,' said Deva De Silva, IFC Resident Representative for Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu.'While COVID-19 has left an indelible mark on the economy and livelihoods of many people, particularly those reliant on tourism, we also see an opportunity to build back better. The private sector remains critical to Fiji's recovery and we remain committed to supporting the government, including in the areas of tourism, financial systems reform, healthcare, affordable housing and improving gender equality.'

The World Bank, which will mark 50 years of work in Fiji in 2021, including having financed the first construction of the Queens Road from Suva to Nadi, while IFC celebrates 42 years in Fiji this year, having recently signed a landmark agreement with Energy Fiji Limited to deliver the largest solar project of its kind in the Pacific, bringing Fiji a step closer to its goal of sourcing 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources. The World Bank Group now has active projects in Fiji focused on transport, health, climate change, tourism and digital connection.