The Australian and New Zealand governments have renewed their commitment to the World Bank’s work in the Pacific through an agreement to strengthen cooperation in the region.

The PNG and the Pacific Islands Umbrella Facility (PPIUF) will be in place until at least 2031 and will support World Bank projects across the Pacific through a commitment of AUD$109 million from the Australian Government (DFAT) and NZ$33 million from the New Zealand Government (MFAT) (US$73.6 million and US$20.8 million respectively); commitments that are expected to grow to a combined estimated US$200 million by 2031 as projects grow.

The World Bank currently provides financing – through grants, credits, and loans – for more than 95 projects across 11 countries in the Pacific, totaling around US$3 billion in support for agriculture, digital development, education, fisheries, health, renewable energy, and transport, as well as jobs, training, and employment.

The commitment ensures essential health, education, social protection, and climate adaptation projects continue to provide meaningful impacts for Pacific governments and communities as well as promoting private-sector growth. It will see more Pacific-based World Bank staff on the ground in new or expanded World Bank presences in Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The PPIUF builds on earlier support and partnerships, in place since 2014, which contributed to a 50% increase in the World Bank’s Pacific-based staff and a seven-fold increase in the number of World Bank-supported projects in the region, led largely through the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries, to which both Australia and New Zealand are important contributors.

“Australia is pleased to support the World Bank’s pivotal role in the Pacific and is committed to working with Pacific governments, New Zealand and the World Bank to enhance the prosperity and resilience of our region,” said Ewen McDonald, Head of the Office of the Pacific at Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“The PPIUF reflects an innovative new phase in the long-standing partnership between Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, and the World Bank to support and strengthen Pacific resilience. Aotearoa New Zealand is pleased to be part of this initiative, which will bring together our resources, technical expertise, and experience for the benefit of the region,” said Bernadette Cavanagh, Deputy Secretary of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Pacific and Development Group.

The agreement will support work related to Tonga’s ongoing recovery from last year’s volcanic eruption and tsunami, support for the expansion of Papua New Guinea’s engagement in regional labour mobility programs, and work in Solomon Islands to improve basic infrastructure through the country’s biggest youth employment project, the Community Access and Urban Services Enhancement Project (CAUSE).

“Far more communities and businesses are better connected – through roads, airports, and hi-speed broadband, for example – and able to access better healthcare and education as a result of Australia and New Zealand’s contributions to World Bank projects over the past decade,” said Stephen Ndegwa, Country Director for the World Bank in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

“Much of these projects are funded through the International Development Association (IDA), to which Australia and New Zealand are critical contributors, and this expansion of our partnership is a testament to what we have achieved together already in creating more opportunities for communities across the Pacific,” said Ndegwa.