Minister calls for more collaboration amongst the MDB

The Minister of Finance, Lautimuia Afoa Vaai, is the Governor for Samoa to the Boards of Governors for the WBG and IMF, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance is the Alternate Governor. The Boards of Governors normally meet once a year to discuss the work of their respective institutions. The delegation included senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Samoa, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Annual Meeting focuses on “building economic resilience, securing transformational reforms, and reinvigorating global cooperation”.
Minister Lautimuia delivered statements in the ministerial dialogues with the managing director of IMF US Secretary of Treasury on evolutions and reforms to the WBG, bilateral meetings with Vice Presidencies of the WBG institutions with IDA, IFC, MIGA, and ICSID, as well as engagement with the Executive Directors representing Samoa’s interests in the Board of Directors for both the WBG and IMF.
Minister Lautimuia urged the WBG and IMF for more collaboration amongst the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and development partners to scale up development financing to address vulnerabilities from climate impact, debt burden, and countries’ specific development needs.
There was a strong message to strengthen the harmonization of policies and requirements to support SIDS access to financing and the members’ implementation capacity. This also includes integrating vulnerabilities of SIDS in policies to access grants and highly concessional financing, as well as more support for human resource development and capacity-building needs.
In the high-level dialogue with IMF managing director, Samoa highlighted the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific that provides guidance to the region’s priorities and leaders’ commitments and IMF was urged to accelerate actions and more collaboration with other development partners and MDBs to recognize vulnerabilities of Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) and SIDS for access to financing and streamlining and harmonizing requirements for this assistance and more support to the UN Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI).
There was also a call for more targeted capacity-building support and further collaboration with other MDBs and development partners to address the longstanding issue of Correspondent Banking Relationships and de-risking of remittance service providers that impacted most of the PICs.
On the WBG, meetings with Vice Presidencies and the US Secretary of Treasury, Samoa urged the Bank and for support from the US for more reforms and flexibility to increase the speed and agility for the Bank to be more responsive to member countries, especially SIDs.
Streamlining and simplification of processes and requirements that could shorten the processing time for project approval and delegation of authority to management to speed up decision making, and flexibility to management and regional and country offices to respond to emerging and urgent needs of members. There was a strong call on a sustainable and multi-year programmatic approach that support tailored and country-led policy reforms to support service delivery.
Strengthening harmonization of requirements with other MDBs was also supported which could minimize transaction costs and ease the burden on countries as well as improve financing and access through the private sector window for SIDS consideration of their vulnerabilities.
During the AM main plenary session, there were strong leadership commitments made by both WBG President Ajay Banga and IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva in support for “impactful development” and “investment in strong economic foundations and international cooperation” to shape the future which require “new ways of working and thinking” and much aligned to Samoa’s key messages stated.
Given the AM brings a large number of member country officials together, it provided opportunities for more high-level ministerial dialogue, bilateral meetings and consultations with development partners for regional cooperation and international support. Minister Lautimuia also encouraged representatives in the Small States Forum, Commonwealth Ministers of Finance Meeting, and the V20 Ministerial Dialogue to support a common vulnerability index such as the UN MVI to be considered by the development partners for aid concessional framework for SIDS to access financing and scale up financing support from the development partners.
The Council of Members (COM) for the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company (PCRIC) held its meeting in the margins of the AM which was chaired by Samoa discussing the importance of parametric insurance given the vulnerability of PICs to disaster and encouraged increased funding from the donor partners, and shared experiences with similar regions in such financing instruments. The delegation also had the opportunity to discuss progress of the aid portfolio funded by the institutions and agreed on ways to address challenges, to speed up implementation and access for more support.
The WBG has a membership of 189 countries and Samoa became a member in June 1974. The WBG consists of five institutions focusing on different areas of development and countries’ situations,
(i) the International Development association (IDA),
(ii) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD);
(iii) International Finance Corporation (IFC);
(iv) Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and
(v) International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
The WBG is headed by the President currently Mr. Ajay WB with vice presidency heading different institutions for the group.
The IMF has a membership of 190 countries and Samoa became a member since 1971. It is headed by the Managing Director Mrs Kristalina Georgieva.