World Bank invests another US$23m in region

The World Bank has given a grant of US$23.7 million (WS$63 million) to Samoa to support its economic recovery plans.

In a statement it said that although Samoa remained COVID-19-free until early 2022, the country operated under a state of emergency since March 2020, triggered by the pandemic.

The World Bank noted that because of the pandemic, there was very little economic activity affecting almost all Samoans.

With unprecedented social and economic impacts felt across the country, Samoa’s tourism industry came to a standstill and generated knock-on effects on other sectors.

The World Bank said households have felt the full brunt of the economic impacts of the pandemic, with the poorest and vulnerable most severely affected.

Samoa celebrates its 60 years of independence. Picture: UN in Samoa Twitter

The economic fallout from the war in Ukraine – such as rising commodity prices – has further exacerbated an already difficult time.

In response to these urgent needs, the World Bank has committed US$14 million (WST37.2 million) through the second of a two-part resilience development project series.

This is in addition to US$9.7 million (WST25.8 million) disbursed in May 2022 under the Catastrophe-Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) of the first resilience project.

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Samoa has drawn on similar funding in the wake of the measles outbreak in 2019, and in March 2020 to bolster the government’s financial capacity to support COVID-19 preparedness and response.

The World Bank Resident Representative for the South Pacific, Lasse Melgaard, said the economic impact on Samoa in recent years is having an effect on businesses and livelihoods.

Lasse Melgaard, the World Bank Resident Representative for South Pacific. Picture: World Bank Pacific

“The double economic shocks that have hit Samoa in recent years – including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine – have had a significant impact on businesses, the tourism and health sectors and on Samoan families’ livelihoods,” said Mr Melgaard.

“We are committed to supporting Samoa’s recovery through this financing to bolster the country’s economic, climate and social resilience.”

Samoa’s Minister of Finance, Mulipola Anarosa Ale-Molioo, said the grant funding will enable the Government to respond to and recover from the recent disasters.

“This support from the World Bank will strengthen Samoa’s capacity to respond to and recover from the recent disasters, especially the pandemic,” she said.

“It’s also important in being able to better prepare for future disasters, encourage foreign and private sector investments, create jobs and harness community resilience to public health emergencies in the future.”

This grant support is funded through the International Development Association – the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in need countries.

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