World Bank

World Bank approves US$19 million to support Tonga’s ongoing recovery from Covid-19

Tonga is now in an economic recovery phase following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic – which has severely impacted Tonga’s tourism and construction sectors – as well as the Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Harold, which caused damages and losses of more than 12 percent of Tonga’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

World Bank Group and Tonga sign new agreement to strengthen partnership

The agreement was signed today by the Tongan Minister of Finance, Hon. Tevita Lavemaau, World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa and IFC Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, Alfonso Garcia Mora.

“This is an important milestone for Tonga’s partnership with the World Bank Group and we look forward to expanding this engagement into other areas aligned with Tonga’s sustainable development priorities,” said Tonga’s Minister of Finance, the Hon. Tevita Lavemaau.

WTO talks: World Bank opposes COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property waiver

His comments on the subject, made during a call with reporters on World Bank economic forecasts, came as WTO negotiations over the proposed waiver resumed in Geneva.

Asked whether he backs a WTO vaccine IP waiver, which India, South Africa and other emerging market countries argue is needed to expand vaccine access, Malpass said: "We don't support that, for the reason that it would run the risk of reducing the innovation and the R&D in that sector."

Extreme poverty set for first rise since 1998, World Bank warns

The pandemic is compounding the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction, the bank said.

By 2021, this could rise to as many as 150 million, it added.

Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 (£1.50) a day.

The projected increase would be the first since 1998, when the Asian financial crisis shook the global economy.

Before the pandemic struck, the extreme poverty rate was expected to drop to 7.9% in 2020.

Over 1,000 Tongan households get boost to help keep students in school

The assistance is part of an effort to address the financial constraints that many households are facing in keeping their children in secondary school.

As part of the Skills and Employment for Tongans (SET) Project, the World Bank is supporting the Tongan government to implement the cash transfer programme , with the main recurring payments of TOP250 (USD110) designed to assist with school fees and other educational costs for over 2,000 Tongan high school students.

ADB, World Bank expand presence in Tonga

The new office marks a significant increase in the development institutions’ presence in Tonga and the Pacific region.

“ADB and World Bank financing has helped Tonga achieve real development results,” said Prime Minister Tuʻiʻonetoa.

“The new shared field presence of the two institutions will allow us to collectively better respond to the development needs of the people of Tonga.”

Tonga govt say World Bank responsible for Gita delays

The lack of progress, which has left a number of schools still using tents as classrooms 17 months after the cyclone, has been drawing criticism in recent weeks.

The government has rejected the accusations and its spokesperson, Lopeti Senituli, says the government has had no control over the hold up, but it has been assured repairs to the schools will start soon.

World Bank to prioritise climate change resilience in Pacific

Its vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, was in Tonga last week for talks.

Ms Kwakwa said the World Bank was working closely within Australia's Step Up and New Zealand's Pacific Reset programmes.

"We've been working on several things including supporting countries to strengthen their climate change resilience, working to support policy reforms to build their economic resilience and we're also working together on the connectivity agenda," Ms Kwakwa said.

"As you know, this region is very remote, even compared to other small island states."

World Bank approves US$4.65M for digital access to Tonga public services

The Tonga Digital Government Support Project will strengthen digital access, efficiency and security in Tonga’s public service, by supporting a number of whole-of-government digital initiatives, includinga new National Government Portal that will improve Tongans’ access to services and information across all Government ministries and agencies, as well as improvements to Tonga’s regulations for digital economy and digital government, data protection and privacy, and cyber security.

More opportunities for Tongan youth and job-seekers

The Skills and Employment for Tongans Project will support the Tongan government to establish a cash transfer programme to address the financial constraints many households face in accessing and keeping children in secondary school. The project will also ensure technical and vocational education and training (TVET) courses are improved to help students build skills to make them more employable in Tonga, as well as through Australian or New Zealand employment programmes.