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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

World Bank Group Significantly Boosts Support to East Asia and Pacific

The World Bank has announced last week that it has adjusted its regional strategy and massively increased its financial and technical support for the region, to address the impacts of the global financial crisis.


Whether Fiji qualifies for this assistance, we are not sure but Government officials could look into it. There will certainly be conditions to be met by the Fiji Government should they wish to access any assistance.

At this stage as well, no detailed study has been done as to the extent that the global crisis has affected the Fiji economy, aside from the effect of the domestic political crisis on the country itself. This would really be an interesting study to do.

Read the World Bank Press release below.

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"The World Bank Group responded quickly to the impacts of the global financial crisis on the countries of the East Asia and Pacific region in fiscal year 2009 with over US$9 billion in financing for development. This represents a significant increase on the amount of financing of the previous year. The World Bank Group also ramped up its technical assistance to help governments in the region address the social and economic impacts of the crisis.

“Although growth in East Asia and Pacific still compares favorably with that of other regions, the poor and the vulnerable have been deeply affected by the global economic crisis,” said World Bank Group Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific Region, James W. Adams “In this region alone, more than 10 million people who would otherwise have moved out of poverty are expected to remain below the poverty line. We have adjusted our regional strategy and increased resources for the region to help countries weather the economic crisis and ensure priority programs remain on track. This includes investments in infrastructure, education, health, agriculture, and social safety nets.”

Many countries in the region were just beginning to recover from the food and fuel crisis of 2008 when the global financial crisis hit. The World Bank Group responded by increasing its support --in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees-- to help countries and private-sector firms deal with the devastating effects of the global financial meltdown.

Commitments from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)—which provides financing, risk management products, and other financial services to middle-income countries— increased in FY09 to $6.9 billion, up from $2.7 billion the previous year. The International Development Association (IDA), which provides interest-free credits and grants to the lowest-income countries, provided $1.2 billion in support in FY09.

As the largest provider of multilateral financing for the private sector in the developing world, the Bank Group’s private sector arm –the International Finance Corporation (IFC)— also increased its support to help boost private sector-led recovery. In FY2009, preliminary results indicate that IFC generated $1.1 billion of new business in 45 projects, seven of these are located in conflict-affected countries and regions, while one in every five projects has a climate change component.

Karin Finkelston, IFC’s Director for East Asia and Pacific, said “To help the region navigate the financial crisis, we focused our efforts on the poorest and most vulnerable countries. We are pleased that we were able to increase our financial commitments to IDA countries to nearly $400 million from around $200 million in 2008.”

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) supported infrastructure development in south-west China, where fast urbanization and industrial growth have led to severe wastewater issues. The agency issued guarantees of $75.3 million to support two water projects, which will promote improved water quality as well as better environmental practices.

“As the leading international institution promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in emerging and transition economies, MIGA can help investors mitigate risks in these uncertain times and play an important role in helping countries attract FDI,” says MIGA’s Executive Vice President Izumi Kobayashi. “MIGA can act as a stabilizing influence in the market.”

The Bank Group’s support in FY2009 in the East Asia and Pacific region by sector is as follows :
  • Agriculture and Rural Development, USD520 million;
  • Education, USD797 million;
  • Energy and Mining, USD526 million;
  • Economic Policy, USD2,792 million;
  • Financial and Private Sector Development, USD160 million;
  • Public Sector Governance, USD460 million;
  • Social Development, USD322 million;
  • Social Protection, USD215 million;
  • Transport, USD855 million.

Read more on this link.

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