The World Bank has approved FJ$106 million (US$49 million) in financing to Fiji which is aimed at creating an estimated 10,000 jobs.
The funding is for the Jobs for Nature 2.0 (JFN2) cash-for-work program. This program has been used to divert rural communities from unsustainable practices and becoming guardians of the environment and natural resources.
Cash incentives are provided to those who adopt fishing and farming techniques which are sustainable and build resilience.
The World Bank’s Fiji social protection COVID-19 response and system development project will support the creation of jobs between three to 12 months in duration.
This funding also covers two rounds of government cash assistance delivered in 2021 to more than 340,000 Fijians who had lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
World Bank Resident Representative for the South Pacific Lasse Melgaard said the past two years have been extremely tough for Fijian families.
He said the additional funding would boost their support to Fiji’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the systems and processes needed to assist those
Fijians who require help the most – especially women and youth – while simultaneously bolstering Fiji’s disaster and climate resilience.
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji’s ongoing recovery must not only reclaim the jobs and economic activity stolen by the pandemic, it must reset course for inclusive, sustainable and resilient development.
He said robust engagement with partners like the World Bank is foundational to the future they are looking to build.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this funding support will go directly to continuing their excellent, multi-sector work that began last year to strengthen the resilience of the most climate vulnerable communities and households.
The JFN2 cash-for-work program is a community-focused program creating jobs for Fijians in rural areas across the country, and will be delivered with the support of Fijian village cooperatives and civil society groups, including women’s and youth groups.
The program will prioritise activities including wetlands protection (mangrove planting, seagrass planting, restoring waterways); riverbank rehabilitation and coastal bank protection (mangrove planting, vetiver grass planting); biodiversity improvement (forest restoration, land
upgrade through native tree planting, coral reef protection); and waste and wastewater management.
This additional financing is an International Development Association credit with highly concessional terms. The IDA is the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries.