World Bank sets out development plan for Pacific
World Bank sets out its plan to assist Pacific Island nations.
The World Bank has set out a four-year plan to assist with the development of 11 Pacific Island nations.
The World Bank's Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Axel van Trotsenburg, says focus will be on infrastructure development, disaster resilience and health and education.
He spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the work which he says is being made possible by a multi-donor trust fund called the, Pacific Facility Four, to which Australia and New Zealand are the major donors.
AXEL VAN TROTSENBURG: Well this Pacific Facility is important for preparing projects, undertaking major studies in support of the development efforts in the Pacific island countries. These monies allow the World Bank to scale up its activities. We have over the last years enormously scaled up our engagement in the Pacific region thanks to this facility that allowed the World Bank to put a major hub in Sydney and expand it. And this has led to an expansion not only of our financial support program but also of our technical assistance and our analytical work for the countries.
KOROI HAWKINS: After 2015 what are some of the major challenges the World Bank sees for the Pacific region?
AVT: Well challenges are remaining if I am looking at, for example, the millennium development goal that United Nations system had endorsed, this is still a challenge in many countries that not all of these goals have been achieved so as long as they are not there we need to work as partners with these countries. Secondly, infrastructure, still many countries need to be connected with telecommunications, with broadband. We still need to look at the electricity, how to make access to the population, for electricity. But also at affordable prices. We also see challenges that are related to, unfortunately, major damages caused by natural disasters. How one can also work on the reliance agenda. So that these countries are better prepared, but also equipped to face fairly adverse weather events. Finally I just want to say the whole regional integration and all these works will ultimately, hopefully, affect people, job creation and a better future for these island states.
KH: Your statement says that you are aiming to help the most vulnerable people in the Pacific.Who are the most vulnerable people in the Pacific?
AVT: Well there are many people who have fairly low incomes. We are looking that often at particularly at those people who are poor. There is still wide spread poverty, these are the most vulnerable people. Unfortunately that is still a challenge for almost all countries that there are still large pockets of poverty in the island countries. It is important that we all as an international community, stay focused on the Pacific Island countries. They have major challenges from the economic to climate change. And it is important that we stand together, in support of their development aspirations and efforts.
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