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World Bank Doubles Financial Commitment to Samoa

APIA, November 2, 2009— Juan Jose Daboub, Managing Director of the World Bank, today announced that the World Bank will double its financial contribution to Samoa, from USD 20 million to USD 40 million, in order to help the country respond to the recent devastating tsunami.

The announcement was made by Mr. Daboub during a visit to Samoa for the opening of the joint World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank liaison office in Apia. The Managing Director is the most senior World Bank official to have visited Samoa.

“Today, while visiting villages on the South Coast of Upolu, I witnessed first-hand the devastating impact caused by the tsunami,” said Juan Jose Daboub. “I would like to express my profound sympathies to the Samoan government and people. At the same time, I have seen through the eyes of those affected their strength, resilience, and desire to work hard to recover and continue on the path to prosperity. I am pleased to reaffirm the World Bank’s commitment to support you.”

President of the Asian Development Bank Haruhiko Kuroda has previously expressed his deepest sympathy to Samoa for the tragic loss of lives and committed immediate assistance for the country’s rehabilitation efforts following the tsunami. As well as a $1 million grant for emergency relief efforts that has been disbursed, ADB plans to provide Samoa with USD 26 million in new loans, to assist Samoa during these difficult times, having been seriously impacted by the tsunami and the economic crisis.

The opening of the joint ADB and World Bank office represents the strengthening of the partnership by both Banks with the Samoan Government and with each other.

“The new office in Apia demonstrates the World Bank’s long-term commitment to its activities and programmes in Samoa,” said Juan Jose Daboub. “This presence on the ground will enable us to be more responsive to the Samoa’s development needs and better engage with the government, local communities and other stake-holders. The joint engagement between the World Bank and the ADB reflects our commitment to respond to the call by Pacific Leaders in Cairns for improved development coordination We look forward to continued support from shareholders to ensure that the World Bank is able to scale up support for developing countries even further.”

"The establishment of the joint ADB/World Bank offices in Tonga and now Samoa is a practical expression of our determination to deliver on commitments made under the Paris Declaration" said Keith Leonard, Regional Director of ADB's South Pacific Subregional Office, who represented the ADB. The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness was adopted on 2 March 2005 at the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) meeting and commits adhering donors and developing countries to improving the distribution and management of aid aimed at increasing its effectiveness.

Dr. Juan José Daboub is the Managing Director responsible for the World Bank’s operations in 74 countries (in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa). Prior to joining the Bank Group, Juan served concurrently as El Salvador’s Minister of Finance and Chief of Staff to the President. In this capacity, he helped to navigate his native country through several regional economic challenges – securing and sustaining El Salvador’s investment grade rating, dollarizing the economy, and completing a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. During this period, he also oversaw the reconstruction of El Salvador after the two earthquakes in 2001.

Samoa has been a member of the World Bank since 1974. The World Bank has committed approximately $88 million in highly concessional credits to the Government. World Bank supported programs have helped to underpin improved roads throughout Samoa, as well as the countries successful efforts to meet the millennium development targets to improve maternal and child mortaility. In addition, investments of $20 million by IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, have encouraged private investment of over $80 million in Samoa, helping increase the number of people with access to telephone services from about 12,000 to 115,000 in less than a decade.

ADB has maintained a long and active presence in Samoa, providing a range of development assistance in the form of loans, grants and technical assistance. The island-nation joined ADB at the Bank's founding in 1966. Since that time, ADB has committed approximately USD 160 million to the country.


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