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Montserrat, Suriname to benefit from Development Bank fund

Published:Saturday | December 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Montserrat and Suriname are to benefit from funds being made available by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for tourism and agricultural projects.

The CDB, the region’s premier financial institution, said that Montserrat will benefit from grant funding of  £4.4 million (£1=US$1.33 cents) to develop port at Little Bay.

It said the funds are being provided through the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), and will assist in financing the construction of an offshore breakwater and quay.

Head of Infrastructure Partnerships at the CDB, Andrew Dupigny, noted that the development of the port is critical to providing a safe harbour and accessibility for vessels up to 150 metres in length.

“The current jetty at Little Bay is exposed to rough seas intermittently, as there is no offshore breakwater. This makes it unsafe for vessels to dock at times, and means that Montserrat is unable to provide a continuous safe harbour for cruise ships, ferries, yachts, cargo and other vessels, which impacts economic activities on the island. The development of the port is seen as vital for Montserrat’s economic recovery and sustainability,” said Dupigny.

Currently, rough seas cause significant downtime at the existing port, and 58 out of 475 ships were unable to berth in 2016.

It is expected that phase one development of the port development works will be completed by 2021, and the CDB said the project is consistent with its strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, as well as its corporate priority of strengthening and modernising social and economic infrastructure.

Suriname will benefit from a US$215,000 grant to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s agricultural sector.

The bank said the grant will fund the completion of a value chain analysis on selected agricultural commodities, to determine which have the most potential to provide competitive advantage to Suriname.  “Suriname possesses several attributes, which are favourable to the development of a vibrant agricultural sector,” said Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB.

“The project will build on existing analyses through a review of national, regional and international policies, strategies and reports relevant to food and agriculture in Suriname. The findings will assist the government of Suriname, the private sector and development partners’ efforts in identifying, prioritising, financing and executing agricultural sector investments.

“This could improve the participation of, and benefits for, smallholder farmers; and increase exports and import substitution,” Clarendon added.

The analysis will enhance the government’s capacity to develop evidence-based, inclusive and gender-responsive plans and programmes to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector.

The project will be implemented in partnership with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector of the Islamic Development Bank.