World Bank Group and Tonga sign new agreement to strengthen partnership

NUKU’ALOFA, August 24, 2021 – The government of Tonga and the World Bank Group today signed the new establishment agreement, committing to strengthen their partnership.

The agreement was signed today by Tonga’s Minister of Finance, the Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa and IFC Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, Alfonso Garcia Mora.

“This is an important milestone for Tonga’s partnership with the World Bank Group and we look forward to expanding this engagement to other areas aligned with Tonga’s sustainable development priorities,” said the Minister. Tonga Minister of Finance, the Hon. Tevita Lavemaau.

This agreement reflects the growing engagement of the World Bank Group in the Pacific with similar agreements signed in other countries of the sub-region in recent years. The World Bank Group also has a South Pacific hub in Suva, as well as offices in Funafuti, Nuku’alofa, Apia, Honiara, Port Moresby, Port Vila and Tarawa with a planned North Pacific office in the states. Federates of Micronesia.

The World Bank works in partnership with 12 Pacific countries supporting 86 projects totaling $ 2.06 billion in commitments in sectors such as agriculture, health, education and employment, resilience and adaptation to climate change, energy, fisheries, rural development, economic policy, macroeconomic management, aviation and transport, telecommunications and tourism.

“The World Bank’s support to Tonga has increased dramatically since it first joined the World Bank in 1985, providing around $ 274 million in aid across 29 projects, with nine projects active today.” , said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank regional vice president for East Asia. and the Pacific.

“This agreement allows us to deepen our partnership and support in Tonga, for a solid recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and to build longer-term resilience to climate and public health emergencies. “

As the largest private sector-focused global development institution in emerging markets, IFC is committed to working with Tonga and the Pacific to develop a stronger private sector and pave the way for more investment opportunities. In Tonga, IFC is already helping build financial resilience, including through innovation in areas such as remittances that provide a vital source of income for Tongan families, support small businesses and boost economic activity.

“The signing of this agreement comes at a critical time as the country faces significant impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to deepening our engagement with Tonga and expanding what has already been a strong partnership, ”said Alfonso Garcia. Mora, IFC Vice President for Asia and the Pacific.

“The private sector has a critical role to play in boosting economic growth around the world, and IFC sees significant opportunities in Tonga, including through public-private partnerships or using our expertise to improve the investment climate. and provide solutions to the private sector to support growth and jobs. “

This year marks the 36th anniversary of Tonga’s membership in the World Bank Group.

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