Friday, November 8, 2013

Recent World Bank Missions in the FSM: furthering ICT reform movements

FSMIS (November 8, 2013): Current communication from Ms. Annette Leith, World Bank Country Office for FSM, Marshall Islands and Palau – East Asia and Pacific Region, to FSM Secretary of Finance and Administration, Mr. Kensley Ikosia indicated the following three World Bank missions in the FSM during the month of November. 

1.  Energy Sector Mission (November 4-15): Certain officials from the World Bank will meet with representatives of the FSM National Government and the State Governments, as well as the utility corporations. The scope and implementation arrangements of potential Technical Assistance (TA) Project by the bank will be defined. The TA Project had been identified at earlier scoping mission in August of this year. World Bank officials will be in Pohnpei and Kosrae from November 4 to 7. One of the officials will move on to Chuuk and later Yap from November 8 to 15.

2.      Information Communication Technology-ICT Sector Mission (November 7-9): The status of the ICT Technical Assistance grant will be discussed. Particular consultations with stakeholders on detailed preparatory steps to progress the development of the FSM-Palau Connectivity Project will be undertaken. A project familiarization with officials in the State of Kosrae is also scheduled. World Bank will be represented by Ms. Natasha Beschorner, Senior ICT Policy Specialist, and Mr. James Neumann, Senior Counsel. The team will be in Pohnpei November 7-8 and in Kosrae November 8-9. Then it will move on to Manila for the inter-government meeting between FSM and Palau for the submarine cable system.

3.      Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) Mission (November 8-19): All four FSM States will be visited by officials from the bank to further consultations for CPS and provide information sessions on the role of the bank. The team will be in Kosrae from November 8-12; Pohnpei from 12-14; Chuuk 14-16 and Yap 16-19. 

A World Bank grant of $500,000 awaits approval by Congress before it can be utilized to strengthen legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the improvement of access to and affordability of telecommunication services in the FSM. 

The FSM and World Bank have been in discussion for some time with regards assistance in telecommunication sector reform and the possibility of linking Yap and Palau via submarine fiber optic cable to the Guam communication line.

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