Kiribati gets US$5.2m grant for economic reform


<p style="text-align: justify;">The Republic of Kiribati has received a US$5.2 million grant to help strengthen the delivery of public services and improve the sustainability of public finances in Kiribati. World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors last week approved the grant for ‘First Economic Reform Development Policy Operation’.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The First Economic Support Development Reform Operation is the first of two planned operations for the Government’s Economic Reform Plan. These operations will provide finance directly to the budget. This first operation focuses on three key areas: increasing revenue through tax reform and administration of fisheries resources; improving the management of public assets and liabilities; and expanding private sector opportunities, including through reform of the telecommunication sector.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The operation is funded through a US$5.2 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. Franz Drees-Gross, Country Director for the World Bank in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands said, “Kiribati faces many challenges that are unique to small island nations, including remoteness from markets, a widely dispersed population, and vulnerability to economic shocks. “This operation will enable the Government of Kiribati to address some of the current economic challenges the country faces by supporting policies that promote long-term economic sustainability.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Kiribati is one of the most isolated countries in the world. Made up of 33 low-lying islands spread over 3.5 million square kilometres of ocean – an area the size of India - the population of around 100,000 people lives on 20 coral atolls and a single island. It is severely threatened by the effects of climate change and over population because of migration from its many outer atolls to its main urban centre in its capital Tarawa.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Tom Murdoch, Kiribati’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development said, “This operation contributes to the implementation of our Economic Reform Plan, which will help Kiribati be better prepared to deal with future external pressures, such as economic shocks, natural disasters and the longer-term challenge of climate change adaptation.”</p>
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