APIA, SAMOA, December 8, 1999 —The Pacific
Islands Investment Fund (PIIF)—established in 1995 by the International
Finance Corporation to provide financing for small and medium enterprises
in the Pacific Island countries—recently completed a new investment of
US$100,000 in the National Bank of Samoa (NBS). PIIF invests in projects
that have a positive developmental impact and are based in IFC's ten member
countries in the Pacific Islands—Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji,
Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands,
Tonga, and Vanuatu.
Established in 1995, NBS is the first and only commercial bank in Samoa
wholly owned by Samoans. Its shareholders include more than 50 local business
people. NBS focuses on supporting indigenous businesses, mostly small and
medium enterprises, and has grown rapidly since establishment. As of September
30, 1999, the total assets of NBS reached Samoan tala 26 million (about
PIIF's investment in NBS will be in the form of a subordinated convertible
loan for its own account in Samoan tala. The project is part of a broader
effort to strengthen NBS's capital base to assist in meeting the Central
Bank of Samoa's capital adequacy requirements. In addition, PIIF's investment
will help mobilize resources to strengthen NBS's technical infrastructure
which will support expansion of its banking services.
The New Zealand government through its trust fund with IFC has been assisting
NBS with institutional strengthening—initially with development of the
bank's treasury and currently with a 12-month program covering all aspects
of training, treasury implementation work, credit risk assessment, and
strategic planning at board level.
The project is part of PIIF's larger strategy to reinforce the financial
sector in Samoa, said Mr. Graeme Rothwell, regional manager of the South
Pacific Project Facility (SPPF).
Based in Sydney, Australia, and managed by IFC, SPPF was established in
1990 to provide assistance to entrepreneurs in evaluating and structuring
investment opportunities, preparing business plans, and obtaining project
financing. SPPF, which does not invest in projects, is funded by the governments
of Australia, Fiji, Japan, Kiribati, New Zealand, and Samoa, as well as
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and
improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the
developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.