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Business Briefs

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2020 | 12:15 AM
The World Bank Building in Washington, DC.
The World Bank Building in Washington, DC.

UDC capital projects ongoing

Urban Development Corporation, UDC, says its capital projects are ongoing amid the pandemic, inclusive of the development of Closed Harbour Beach Park in Montego Bay on which it is spending $1.3 billion.

The 16-acre property is being transformed into the resort city’s largest free, public access beach park, providing “much-needed green space” for outdoor recreation in Montego Bay, the state agency said.

Other projects are ongoing in St Ann, inclusive of continuing upgrades to Dunn’s River Falls and the Ocho Rios Bay Beach Promenade. In Kingston, repairs to the roof of the building that houses the Tax Authority of Jamaica is under way, due for completion by the end of June, and the Jamaica Conference Centre is being refurbished.

The state development agency says its worksites are equipped with handwashing stations, among other health and safety measures, in line with protocols to protect staff and negate spread of the coronavirus.

World Bank COVID support spreads to 100 countries

Fearing the spread of COVID-19 could move another 60 million people into poverty, the World Bank has offered support, which the agency says has reached 100 countries, whose populations amount to 70 per cent of the globe.

The multilateral agency has committed to distribute US$160 billion over 15 months in the form of grants through loans and equity investments, saying the programme is “the largest and fastest crisis response” in its history. It’s also allowing suspension of debt repayments on World Bank loans, on request, during the crisis.

The COVID-19 coronavirus emerged in China around December, then quickly spread around the world, and was declared a pandemic earlier this year. Economies have locked down in order to contain the spread of the virus, which now threatens to push the world into recession.

“The pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty – erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass in a statement issued by the bank.

World Bank said 39 per cent of the 100 countries assisted are in sub-Saharan Africa, while nearly one-third of the total projects are in conflict areas or vulnerable countries, including Haiti, which got a US$20m grant.