World Bank and ADB grants for Kiribati PFM reforms

3 Dec 18

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati will be supported to improve its public finances and boost economic growth through better regulation.

The World Bank announced a $5m grant to the country, while the Asian Development Bank said it would provide a $2.5m policy-based grant.

The money will help Kiribati to better manage its cash reserves, improve its procurement procedures and bolster the governance of its wealth fund.

Additionally, the introduction of stronger laws to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, measures for more reliable and sustainable water supply and new standards for the regulation and support of early childhood care and education should help drive economic growth.

Teuea Toatu, Kiribati’s minister for finance and economic development, said: “Through this operation we are especially looking forward to seeing less illegal fishing activities in our waters, higher standards of education and care for our youngest i-Kiribati to better prepare them for school and lifelong learning, and fewer water-borne illnesses in South Tarawa, which places a disproportionate burden of care on women and girls.”

This is the country’s fifth economic support package for its economic and fiscal reform plans. These have already “delivered greater transparency around public debt” and improved the management of the wealth fund, the World Bank said.

Michel Kerf, World Bank country director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, said: “The World Bank stands as a committed partner in development with the government of Kiribati, as it works to ensure stronger public finances and create an environment for economic growth which benefits all i-Kiribati.”

Kiribati is one of the most remove and geographically dispersed countries in the world, comprising 33 islands spread over 5 million square kilometres of ocean. It has a population of just over 115,000.

Australia and New Zealand are also supporting the implementation of reforms.

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