- The World Bank is moving from a regional approach to individual country strategies, to better acknowledge challenges and priorities of countries in the Pacific Islands.
- The Samoa Country Partnership Strategy for 2012-2016 will focus on strengthening the country's resilience to climate change, natural disasters and economic shocks.
Apia, March 30 2012 – The World Bank has been scaling up its assistance in the Pacific Islands and is moving from a regional approach to individual country strategies, to better acknowledge country-specific challenges and priorities. This Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2012-2016 represents the first individual country strategy for Samoa.
The key theme running through the Bank Group’s engagement with Samoa will be to strengthen resilience to climate change, natural disasters and economic shocks. This reflects both the priorities set out in the new Samoa Development Strategy, as well as the Bank’s broader approach across the small and remote Pacific island countries.
Key priorities for the Bank Group’s engagement with Samoa will include supporting Government efforts to:
- build economic resilience and encourage inclusive growth
- generate increased opportunities from global and regional integration
- strengthen resilience against natural disasters and climate change.
Building Economic Resilience and Inclusive Growth
- The Strategy will continue to support a number of efforts to bolster the Samoan economy including: (i) strengthening public financial management; (ii) improving service delivery; and (iii) encouraging medium-term investment and growth.
- IFC intends to significantly scale up efforts to encourage new investment focusing on tourism, which makes up about a fifth of Samoa’s GDP. It will also explore options to support micro-enterprises and SMEs, a key engine of job creation, poverty reduction and economic growth.
- The Government places high priority on strengthening food security and agricultural productivity, since Samoa currently depends to a large degree on food imports. The Samoa Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Project will help improve food security by supporting livestock and fruit and vegetable production, by both subsistence and semi-commercial farmers. The project will also help small farmers to take greater advantage of market opportunities, particularly by accessing supply chains for tourism operators.
Generating Opportunities from Greater Global and Regional Integration
- Making the most of international employment opportunities will be important for Samoa. Remittances remain a critical source of income for Pacific Island countries. For Samoa, they averaged around a quarter of GDP over the last ten years. The Bank has been involved in providing advice to both Australia and New Zealand on international best practice on temporary labor migration, supporting the development of seasonal employment schemes that provide “win-win” benefits for both labor sending and receiving countries. And the Bank remains closely engaged in providing technical and analytical advice for Pacific island countries, including Samoa, to manage their participation in such schemes. The Bank Group will also support efforts by Samoan workers to send back funds more cheaply and to establish businesses on their return.
- Dramatic success in lowering telephone costs and improving mobile phone coverage has given 90 percent of Samoans access to mobile phones. The next key challenge in the ICT sector will be to improve broadband connectivity. This will provide greater opportunities for Samoans to participate in and benefit from the global economy, services, and information.
Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Climate Change
- Given extreme vulnerabilities to climate change and natural disasters, targeted investments to improve Samoa’s long-term resilience will be a key focus for new engagement. The Bank has been able to mobilize US $25 million in grant financing for Samoa through the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR). Initially, grant resources will be focused on “climate proofing” the main West Coast road from the airport to the capital of Apia. A second phase, anticipated in FY13, will help Samoa develop a national climate adaptation plan, and support 16 districts to implement high priority coastal protection works, in conjunction with UNDP support for Samoa’s other 25 districts.