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CDB provides US$781 million in support to Jamaica

Published:Monday | May 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Dr Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank.
Norman Manley International Airport
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Jamaica was the largest beneficiary of the US$4.8 billion in approved loans and grants disbursed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) between 1970 and 2015, having received US$781 million or 16.4 per cent of the sum.

President of the Bank, Dr Warren Smith, told JIS News that the allocation funded projects in micro, small and medium-size enterprises, social infrastructure, environmental sustainability/disaster risk management, agriculture and other initiatives. Notable among the provisions is a US$35-million policy-based loan to the Government of Jamaica in 2014.

This formed part of overall funding support for the Economic Reform Programme, which was provided by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Union, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

path increase

"One of the objectives of the CDB loan was to ensure that the Government could ... increase provisions under the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education. This is to safeguard the most vulnerable, who are often the most adversely impacted by structural reforms," he said.

Another major project was the upgrading and expansion of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. This was undertaken between 2006 and 2011 at a cost of US$136 million with major financing provided by the European Investment Bank. The CDB provided US$20 million of this sum.

Dr Smith noted that the project achieved its primary objective of modernising and upgrading the airport's infrastructure for cargo and passenger throughput, resulting in reduced transit time, and greater efficiency and revenue generation.

"We are happy that the airport has shown improvement, both financially and operationally, and has been able to operate without Government support," he added. The Students' Loan Bureau is another beneficiary, having received two loans totalling US$20 million each in 2010 and 2012.

The support, Dr Smith pointed out, has enabled over 10,000 young people to access tertiary education. The bank also financed the construction of part of the Northern Coastal Highway, which runs from Lucea in Hanover to Port Antonio in Portland. Smith said US$53 million was provided to develop the segment from the Sangster International Airport roundabout in Montego Bay to the section of the roadway leading to the Trelawny Stadium.

Jamaica is one of the CDB's two largest shareholders with a 17.3 per cent interest amounting to approximately US$1.9 million of the bank's total shares which, Smith said, totalled US$1.1 billion at the end of 2015. The other country is Trinidad and Tobago.