In March the regional Vice Presidents from the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank (ADB) visited Wellington to meet with Government Ministers and Ministry staff working on the New Zealand Aid Programme.
The meetings were an excellent opportunity to discuss the changing global economic situation and the role of multilateral development banks, including ways in which these Banks can work more effectively and collaboratively with New Zealand in Pacific.
World Bank Vice President, Pamela Cox, talked about how the World Bank has been increasing its lending in the Pacific and now wants to focus on implementation of specific projects. She said the World Bank’s priorities in the Pacific region were connectivity and infrastructure. Potential opportunities for collaboration between the World Bank and the New Zealand Aid Programme in areas such as fisheries were discussed.
ADB Vice President Stephen Groff thanked New Zealand for its pledge of $NZ41.5 million to the next replenishment of the Asian Development Fund and stressed the importance of the partnership with New Zealand. He said the ADB wants to work with New Zealand in the Pacific - bringing together New Zealand’s regional knowledge and networks and the ADB’s financing.
Deputy Secretary International Development, Amanda Ellis welcomed the visit, saying it gave staff working on the New Zealand Aid Programme an opportunity to hear from the Banks about their priorities in the Pacific.
“The New Zealand Aid Programme wants to work more closely with the World Bank and the ADB to support sustainable economic development in the region. New Zealand can partner with these institutions and add real value through our in depth knowledge and expertise in the Pacific,” Amanda Ellis said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also facilitated a conversation between the two international development banks and Australia to chart progress against the development objectives arising from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Waiheke Declaration.
A panel discussion led by Pamela Cox, Stephen Groff, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director, Dr Zhu (who was also in New Zealand for the day), provided an opportunity to discuss global and regional economic situations and how this is impacting changing approaches to international development.