During last week Prime Minister Hou met in Honiara with the World Bank’s Resident Representative Guido Rurangwa and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Resident Representative Seva Payevskiy.
The PM said he was impressed by the World Bank’s assurance to support the new Government’s development aspirations.
Similar assurances of collaborative support had come from the UNDP.
Mr Rurangwa reportedly informed the Prime Minister that the World Bank was currently working closely with the Government to identify key priority areas in infrastructure, agriculture, renewable energy and water sanitation.
He added that the World Bank is also prepared to provide financial support for these sectors.
A full report of the meeting with the World Bank’s Resident Representative and the one from the IFC was contained in an article in the Solomon Star, from which I quote.
“The World Bank is ready to support the new Government in the infrastructure and transport sector as well as the airfield projects.
“Mr Rurangwa said a team from their transport sector would be coming into the country next week to start off discussions with the Government.
“IFC’s Seva Payevskiy also informed the Prime Minister that they are currently working on a new country partnership framework for Solomon Islands.
“This new partnership, he said, would be focusing on priority areas for sustainable economic growth in the country.
“Mr Seva also updated the Prime Minister on a recent exercise carried out called Systematic Country Diagnosis.
This is an exercise which is based on the Bank’s view on the key problems in Solomon Islands and suggested solutions for the country.
Mr Seva also assured the Prime Minister of IFC’s support as a transaction adviser to the Tina Hydro project, as well as providing technical advice and support to the progression of the Bina Harbour Project.
“IFC also supports tourism projects in Western province as well as actively providing investment support in the fisheries sector particularly to Soltuna and NFD,” he said.
“Mr Rurangwa then informed the Prime Minister on the USD$100 million support program the World Bank is currently progressing in different sectors such as energy, job creation projects, climate change rural development and fisheries.
“He also told to the Prime Minister that the Rapid Employment Project under World Bank would be extended to the provinces beginning with Malaita, Guadalcanal and Western provinces.
“Prime Minister Hou in response welcomed the comprehensive updates rendered to him.
Mr Hou thanked the World Bank for their support and more so for undertaking the Systematic Country Diagnosis exercise.
He said this would surely assist the Government in identifying key areas that needed attention and how best a collaborative approach could provide best solutions.
“It is important that we focus on sectors that can boost the economy.
“Not only that, but also to focus on priority programs that will bring out dividends and that will generate income for our rural people,” he said.
“Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hou told the World Bank representatives that the Tina Hydro project is a project the Government wanted to get rolling in the next 18 months.
“The Prime Minister has also re-assured World Bank of his desire to see a closer collaboration between the Government and donor partners.
The World Bank representatives applauded the Prime Minister’s assertion in re-establishing confidence amongst donor partners through the core economic working group.