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IDB to invest US$300m in Caribbean

Published:Tuesday | October 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Audrey Marks, Jamaica's ambassador to the United States and Chairman of the Caricom Caucus of Ambassadors, says the funds will be accessible by small and medium companies.

IDB Invest, the investment arm of the Inter-American Development Bank, says it has more than US$300 million for investment opportunities in the Caribbean.

IDB Invest general manager, James Scriven, said as he announced the allocation that the IDB is taking keen interest in Jamaica and its development, and that the funds being made available will support key growth projects.

Jamaica will get more than US$50 million in investment projects annually "over a couple of years", targeted mainly at tourism, infrastructure, transportation, ports, roads, as well as the financial sector, he said at a ceremony hosted by the IDB's newly appointed executive director for Caribbean countries, Selwin Hart.

Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States and Chairman of the Caricom Caucus of Ambassadors, Audrey Marks, welcomed the announcement of IDB funds, which she noted would also be accessible to small businesses.

"This latest expanded financial framework from IDB Invest, which will allow projects as small as US$1 million to be included, will help tremendously in improving small and medium-sized enterprise investment in our tourism, infrastructure, transportation and financial sectors," she said.

"A major focus of the Caricom Caucus of Ambassadors over the next couple of months is to find ways to attract new investments into the Caribbean and with new investors, the partnership with international financial institutions such as IDB Invest, will add credibility and viability to projects. I am, therefore, happy to note this additional over US$300 million for investment projects throughout the Caribbean."

Marks congratulated Ambassador Hart, who is from Barbados, on his IDB appointment, and expressed support "in working together to get the job done".

Hart, for his part, said the Caribbean office is "strategically engaging" key departments across the IDB Group to identify new opportunities for the region, and aims to bring Caribbean talent into the IDB, including at senior levels.

"We are working on strengthening our internal coordination and collaboration to better project a strong Caribbean identity across the bank, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones, as well as working closely with the other Caricom countries that are not formally part of our constituency on the Board but, nevertheless, share the same priorities and interests," he said.