$218m support: Loan to boost Fiji’s ongoing recovery efforts

General view of the Suva CBD. Picture: FT FILE

Fiji’s ongoing recovery from the immense shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic that exacerbated the impacts of recent natural disasters has received a timely boost in the form of $US100 million ($F218m) from the World Bank as part of the Fiji Recovery and Resilience Second Development Policy Financing.

In a statement issued yesterday the World Bank country director Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands, Stephen Ndegwa said the pandemic had deep and lasting impacts on all countries; yet tourism-reliant economies such as Fiji had felt these impacts disproportionately.

“This financing builds on our earlier support for delivering increased jobs. We now have an opportunity to not only support Fiji’s recovery, but to also prepare Fiji to better take advantage of opportunities in the future,” he said.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the climate crisis was intensifying and every dollar spent now on adaptation would spare us from far higher costs in the years to come.

“Fiji is not wasting this vital window to prepare our people and communities – in fact, our entire recovery is purpose-built around resilience and long-term economic stability and sustainability.

“This support from the World Bank will have an immediate impact on equipping Fiji to withstand future shocks – whether they be climate change, pandemics, or global conflicts.”

According to the IFC, the new support includes $US50m ($F109m) on highly concessional terms from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries.

The balance of this new support is on through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which provides loans to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, as well as by coordinating responses to regional and global challenges.

It further stated the Fiji Recovery and Resilience Second Development Policy Financing was the second of a two-part series of budget support to promote a private sector-driven recovery, strengthen climate resilience, improve the management of public finances and mobilize tax revenue.

The reform program supported through this operation boosts Fiji’s recovery and resilience, engagement of women’s groups and local communities to rehabilitate degraded lands, especially forests and coastal areas, and improve their ability to manage climate-related risks and disasters; strengthening of institutional arrangement for delivering early warning systems for natural disasters; further efforts to spur investments and expand the use of digital payments and further strengthening of management of public finances and debt while increasing tax revenue.

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