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World Bank launches programs for Samoa

WASHINGTON D.C. - The World Bank announced yesterday the launching of two initiatives targeting Samoa.

The first is the Country Partnership Strategy, which focuses on encouraging broad based growth; reducing vulnerability to economic shocks, natural disasters and climate change; and supporting greater global integration to provide opportunities for Samoans.

“The Country Partnership Strategy represents a strengthening of the relationship between the World Bank and Samoa,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director for the Pacific Islands in a news release.

“It has been developed through extensive consultations and will guide the Bank as we scale up support for Samoa and the Pacific islands more broadly, to ensure that we deliver real results for the people."

Over recent years Samoa has been adversely affected by a number of external shocks, including a devastating tsunami in 2009, food and fuel price spikes and the global financial crisis.

“Samoa is an example of how strong policies can increase growth and ensure progress toward millennium development goals,” said Pamela Cox, World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific. “At the same time, Samoa also illustrates how even well performing small island states are vulnerable to external economic shocks and natural disasters, such as the 2009 tsunami.”

“Under the new Partnership the Bank Group will work together with the Government and people of Samoa to build resilience and create opportunities,” she said.

Over the next five years, the new Strategy will support inclusive growth in rural and urban areas and build on successful development efforts such as the telecoms revolution, which, in just a few years, has given 90 percent of Samoans access to mobile phones.

Activities under the Strategy will help improve broadband connectivity; maximize benefits from tourism; make the most of opportunities for Samoans to work overseas; and boost agricultural productivity.  Support will also continue for health services and essential infrastructure including roads and energy, and for climate change adaptation. 

The World Bank will be able to offer Samoa up to US$100 million in concessional finance and grants over the next five years.

AGRICULTURE PROJECT

The second initiative is a US$13 million Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project that will help more than 2,000 Samoan fruit and vegetable and livestock farmers to improve their productivity and take greater advantage of market opportunities.

“Despite having a large agriculture sector, Samoan households remain vulnerable to increases in food and fuel prices, with the poorest households spending over half their income on food,” said Belhaj, in a separate news release.

“By improving the competitiveness of Samoan farmers and allowing them to capture a larger share of the domestic food and export markets, this project will improve livelihoods of rural households and also contribute to increased food security,” said Belhaj.

Agriculture plays a critical role in the Samoan economy, employing around two-thirds of the national labor force and supporting 18,000 rural households. Over the past decade the agriculture sector has underperformed and Samoa has become increasingly dependent on food imports.

Livestock farmers participating in the project will benefit from activities that will improve access to superior breeding stock; improve livestock nutrition; provide finance for eligible farm enterprise investments through matching grants; and improve meat handling via a new field service on Upolu and Savai’i, and later through the construction of an abattoir on Upolu.

Fruit and vegetable farmers will have access to new, higher yielding fruit and vegetable varieties, improved farming technology and access to finance for farm enterprise investments. The project will work with farmers to help them meet the demands of local retailers and foodservice operators for year-round supplies of fresh fruits and vegetables. The project will further provide support to encourage healthy eating habits and increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

The project also includes support to improve the effectiveness of government and non-government agricultural institutions providing extension and adaptive research services to Samoan farmers. 

The project will be funded by $US8 million from the World Bank’s concessional finance arm, the International Development Association and is co-financed by a $US5 million multi-donor grant from the Food Price Crisis Response Multi-donor Trust Fund.

For more information about the World Bank in the Pacific, please visit www.worldbank.org/pi



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