The South Pacific Resident Representative of World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific Region, Mr Lasse Melgaard paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 25 May 2017.
Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Derrick Armstrong welcomed Mr Melgaard and provided an overview of the University.
Professor Armstrong informed Mr Melgaard that USP is an inter-governmental body in terms of the ownership structure of the University, reiterating its importance particularly in the area of human resource development.
He also stated that in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), USP is the CROP agency leader in ICT development in the region. Professor Armstrong added that ICT at the University is a major independent resource in connecting to all of its campuses throughout USPNet for teaching and learning.
Mr Melgaard informed Professor Armstrong that the World Bank’s funding for projects in the Pacific region will increase because of a rise in its share of base allocation per country, hence small and fragile states will benefit more.
This, he said, means more staff on the ground, hence World Bank is opening an office in Suva with around 20-30 staff, who will look after the Bank’s matters for the South Pacific region.
“It is very much in our interest to ensure that there is a strong regional architecture,” Mr Melgaard said.
One of the things that World Bank is looking to do in partnership with USP is to invite students or academics to give lectures or presentations on what they are working on, for instance, in areas of agriculture, transport, ICT, health and education subjects.
Professor Armstrong welcomed this opportunity on a very positive note and said that he is pleased to facilitate such requests.
The World Bank is also keen to work in collaboration with USP on general capacity building across the Pacific.
“Training opportunities are important for us both in terms of sustainability and much of the infrastructure and investments that we make. It also helps us in delivering these resources and benefits in the best way possible so training in various areas could be a possible partnership opportunity,” Mr Melgaard highlighted.
Other areas in which the World Bank and USP could collaborate in future are Climate Change Education, Technical and Vocational Training and Economic Policy Modelling, among others.