World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim has welcomed and promised to follow up a Commonwealth proposal for addressing the debt and financing challenges of small states.
Speaking during the Small States Forum in Washington DC on 12 October 2013, Dr Kim said he was pleased with the ideas contained in the proposal by the Commonwealth High-level Mission on Debt and Financing Challenges of Small States that was presented to the heads of the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank on 7 October 2013.
“Thank you for these very useful ideas,” the World Bank President said while responding to a briefing on the highlights of the proposal by St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, who led the Commonwealth high-level team.
The group also included the Minister of Finance of Jamaica, Dr Peter Philips; Minister of Finance of Samoa Faumuina Luiga; Minister of Finance of Seychelles Pierre Laporte; and the Minister of Finance of Tonga, Lisiate ‘Aloveita ‘Akolo. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma was also part of the group.
The ministers told the World Bank President that small states face many challenges when it comes to managing and servicing debt, adding that they face obstacles that prevent them from accessing concessionary finance. They also said small states were vulnerable to crises, natural disasters and other external shocks.
“I promise that I will take these ideas back to our Board and Team and when we meet next year, I will have an answer for you. The interests and challenges of small states, especially with respect to helping them address the adverse effects of climate change are issues on which I have enormous determination to address," Dr Kim said.
The Commonwealth proposal includes the need for integration of resilience building of small states, provision of grace periods for debt repayment during times of natural disasters or other external shocks and provision of countercyclical loans.