[WASHINGTON] Tiny South Pacific island nation Nauru has become the 189th member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the two institutions announced Tuesday.
Nauru applied for membership in the Washington-based IMF and World Bank in April 2014, after joining the United Nations in 1996 as the world's smallest independent republic.
The World Bank, which helps developing countries to spur growth and fight poverty, welcomed Nauru as its smallest member by land mass, at 21 sq km.
"Nauru faces challenges in sustaining growth and ensuring fiscal and debt sustainability over the medium term - challenges faced by many of the nation's Pacific Island neighbors," the Bank said in a statement.
By joining the World Bank, Nauru gains access to financial support, technical support and special expertise in dealing with Pacific area issues, such as water and sanitation and disaster risk management amid the threat of climate change and rising sea levels.
With the IMF, Nauru can benefit from the crisis lender's advice on managing government finances and monetary policy.
"I am very pleased to welcome Nauru as member of the IMF," said Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, in a statement.
"As Nauru faces a number of challenges common to small island economies, including its geographical remoteness and climate change, it will benefit from participating fully in the economic cooperation of our global membership." Before Nauru, the last country to join the IMF and World Bank was South Sudan, in April 2012.