Wed | Dec 19, 2018

CDB announces US$172 m programme of assistance for Jamaica

Published:Thursday | December 14, 2017 | 3:54 PM

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced a programme of assistance of USD172 million for Jamaica over the period 2017 to 2021.

The resources will be augmented by £17.5 million or approximately US$22.2 million in grants from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), CDB said in a release.

The programme of assistance, outlined in a new country strategy paper, was approved by the CDB board today.

“This Strategy will support Jamaica in its efforts to further diversify its economy, building on the relative success of its tourism industry,” said Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics at the CDB.

“It will also focus on improving the business regulatory environment. In consultation with country stakeholders, the Bank has designed the programme of assistance to respond to challenges that can stymie diversification, such as the high incidence of violent crime, inadequate semi-skilled and skilled labour and social inequalities,” he added.

The Strategy is built around four key pillars, with cross-cutting themes of citizen security, gender equality and energy security.

CDB-supported interventions will focus on improving access to, and the quality of, education. At the community level, the Bank will continue to support initiatives to strengthen local economic development and expand income-earning opportunities for vulnerable groups.

It will also enhance governance and citizen security. To strengthen implementation capability, CDB will support initiatives being driven by the Jamaican government and other international development partners to enhance performance monitoring and public sector efficiency.

CDB said it will collaborate and leverage the expertise of key stakeholders to implement a comprehensive crime and violence prevention initiative and will consider support to reduce recidivism, build capacity among vulnerable groups, and expand income-earning opportunities for youth.

The Bank said it will support inclusive economic growth and competitiveness through reforms to improve business innovation, develop climate-resilient economic infrastructure, and improve agricultural productivity, which remains an important contributor to gross domestic product, employment and foreign exchange earnings in Jamaica. Grants from UKCIF will support agricultural development.

CDB said it will support interventions to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, and improve energy security and efficiency. This will include integrating renewable energy generation with other projects.

The new country strategy follows the 2014-2016 version, which had a resource envelope of US$38.5 million. It supported the government’s reform programme through a policy-based loan geared towards fiscal consolidation, growth and competitiveness, and social cohesion.  During the period, CDB also provided technical assistance to strengthen capacity at the Ministry of Finance.

Individual projects to be delivered under the new programme of assistance will be appraised by CDB and, if deemed to be viable, will be presented to the board for approval, following which disbursements will commence.

The 2017-2021 country strategy for Jamaica aligns with the Bank’s strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, and promoting good governance.

- business@gleanerjm.com