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22 April 2024

Helping small businesses recover from disaster: lessons from Fiji

For small businesses already struggling to deal with the impact of climate change, unforeseen emergencies such as COVID-19 can spell disaster.

In Fiji, where the pandemic threatened to push many businesses to bankruptcy, the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) was able to help, by expanding the coverage of its Disaster Rehabilitation and Containment Facility.

“In response to the negative impact of past cyclones and floods, the Reserve Bank of Fiji had implemented a loan facility to provide back-to-back finance through approved lenders to affected businesses, to help with their recovery,” explains Caroline Waqabaca, RBF Acting Deputy Governor. “When COVID happened, the Reserve Bank enhanced the facility, to assist businesses that were affected not just by natural disasters, but also by pandemics like COVID.”

“For a small business operator, there are basically no reserves; we survive from week to week,” explains Monisha Naidu, CEO of Mogul Marketing, a design and signage firm based in Lautoka. “If we had not received that financial assistance, we would probably have closed down by now – that is for sure.”

To date, the Disaster Rehabilitation and Containment Facility has benefited around 5,800 small businesses for a total value of over US$126 million. You can learn more about the Facility on the RBF website, and in the video below.

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