Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), today opened a joint World Bank and International Monetary Fund Pacific Seminar in Tokyo. The seminar was held as part of the 2012 Annual Meetings and was attended by leading policy makers from 13 Pacific Island nations, their representatives on the IMF and World Bank Boards and a number of regional development partners active in the Pacific (Ausaid, Asian Development Bank, JICA, and New Zealand Aid Programme).
“The IMF is committed to a deeper, more fruitful dialogue with the Pacific islands and other small states” said Mr. Zhu. “Our conference earlier this year in Samoa allowed me to appreciate the significant and unique challenges that the Pacific Islands face. Our dialogue today builds on the themes discussed in Samoa and focuses on how the economies of the Pacific can enhance their near-term and long-term resilience. The seminar will ensure that the Fund’s intensified focus on its smaller members is tailored to their needs and takes full account of the constraints they face.”
Mr. Anoop Singh, Director of the Asia Pacific Department, added, “The discussions today highlighted the vulnerability of the small open economies of the Pacific Islands to global economic spillovers, but also the large opportunities this region face given its proximity to the world growth leader—Asia. Their increasing integration with East Asia and their long standing ties with Australia and New Zealand should help increase potential growth over the next decade if the right policy is in place. However, many countries are highly exposed to recent commodity price increases which directly hurt the poor. Choosing appropriate policy responses is therefore critically important. The IMF can help, through policy advice, financial support and technical assistance.”
“The more we connect the people of the Pacific together, bridging time and distance, the greater the prospects for jobs and opportunities. That’s why we are supporting regional programs that can boost economies of scale on aviation safety, communications connectivity and well managed fisheries”, said Pamela Cox, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific. “Jobs can also be created by getting rid of regional barriers to investment and labor and by making sure women have equal access to the economy, it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do”.
“We are planning another Pacific Islands Conference in 2013 which will focus on how to increase potential growth in the Pacific”, Mr. Zhu concluded.
In the discussion, country delegations welcomed the support of the IMF, World Bank and Development Partners. They stressed the need for policy responses to take account of the particular economic circumstances of the Pacific Islands and emphasized the importance of well-coordinated donor support.