Press Release - Washington DC- June 24, 2010 - The World Bank Group today welcomed its newest member, Tuvalu.

The Pacific Island country became the latest member of the World Bank Group when Finance Minister Lotoala Metia signed the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) - the two institutions that make up the World Bank.

With a population of just over 12,000 and a total land area of 26 square kilometers, Tuvalu is the world's fourth smallest nation and the World Bank Group's smallest member.

The country faces significant development challenges. As the world's second lowest-lying nation it is particularly vulnerable to impacts from climate change.

The World Bank Group will provide global development expertise and, if requested, financial support to help Tuvalu address its key challenges.

"We look forward to working with the Government of Tuvalu to help improve development outcomes and bring about positive change in people's lives," said Jim Adams, World Bank Vice President for the East Asia and Pacific region.

"The World Bank recognizes that small island countries, like Tuvalu, face massive challenges and increased economic vulnerability due to their small populations, geographical remoteness and extreme susceptibility to external shocks like natural disasters or food and fuel price hikes. Over the coming years, we will support the Government of Tuvalu in addressing these pressing challenges".

Tuvalu becomes the World Bank Group's 187th member.