24 Nov 2016

Huge gains possible for Pacific: World Bank

7:28 am on 24 November 2016

The new Pacific director for the World Bank says there are massive gains to be made in the Pacific if countries can get things right.

Michel Kerf will oversee the World Bank's regional portfolio which includes 55 projects across 13 countries worth more than $US 1-billion.

Mr Kerf said the Bank had identified potential areas which countries could focus on improving and developing and two major risk areas which need to be mitigated to maximise gains across the region.

He said these areas include fisheries, deep sea mining, tourism and labour mobility and the two biggest risks are climate change and non-communicable diseases.

"The difference between the business-as-usual scenario and the getting-things-right scenario can be quite impressive in many cases. Countries like Kiribati for example could basically double their per capita income compared to current trends."

"And something close to the same applied to Fiji or to Tuvalu for example," he said.

Mr Kerf who officially began his new role in September has more than 22 years of World Bank experience including four years in the Pacific, where he was most recently Transport Practice Manager for East Asia and Pacific Region.