World Bank approves $145m recovery fund for Fiji


Fiji has faced severe recession following Covid and tropical cyclones.

The World Bank has announced urgent funding for Fiji where one third of the workforce is now without full-time employment following the devastating impact of Covid, alongside significant damage done by recent tropical cyclones. Fiji, like many island nations, is also particularly at risk of climate change consequences and needs support to adapt.

The World Bank’s Fiji Recovery and Resilience First operation will provide the country with $145m to support a rebuilding effort that focus on long-term ambitions for the country that include improved opportunities for women and greater climate resilience. The funding will also support a social assistance policy to improve the efficiency and targeting of help for many of Fiji’s poorest and most vulnerable groups.

Additionally, operations will support the implementation of Fiji’s national ocean policy that will increase the scale of marine protected areas, while improving steel reinforcement of buildings and infrastructure to better withstand future cyclones.

Fiji’s acting minister for economy, Faiyaz Koya, welcomed the urgency involved, explaining: “Stronger storms, longer droughts, and rising seas are here, now. We cannot wait on the unknown end of the pandemic to protect our people and accelerate a sustainable recovery for our economy.”

Lasse Melgaard, the World Bank’s resident representative for the region agreed, saying: “The scale of this operation reflects both our, and the Fijian government’s belief that the response to the historically unprecedented shocks needs to be significant.” 

The operation provides $110m from the International Development Association’s crisis response window and a further credit of $10m under the Catastrophe-Deferred Drawdown Option that is available for immediate deployment in the event of a significant climate-related or public health disaster, an earthquake, or a tsunami.

The remaining $25m is in the form of a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.