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Jamaica secures US$105m in project loans from World Bank

Published:Friday | September 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica signed loan agreements with the World Bank on Wednesday to fund three projects, including the previously announced public-sector reform programme.

The loans will back the Foundation for Competitiveness and Growth Project, US$50 million; the Youth Employment in Digital Animation Industry Project, US$20 million; and the Strategic Public Sector Transformation Project, US$35 million.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips, who was in Washington for the signing, said the projects reflect the Government's investments in key strategic areas - youth unemployment and pubic- sector modernisation, and would "facilitate a more enabling environment for private-sector growth."

Country Director Sophia Sirtaine signed on behalf of the World Bank.

The animation project aims to train tech entrepreneurs and facilitate some 150 business start-ups. According to the finance ministry, the project aims to reach about 15,000 young people.

The competitiveness and growth project loan deals with business development, trade and logistics.

"It is also intended to finance studies and provide technical assistance to enable the Government to prepare and close large strategic investment transactions with private-sector participation, while supporting small and medium-sized enterprise development through direct financing," the finance ministry said in a release.

Also on Wednesday, Phillips signed a grant agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank valued at US$300,000 for the mobile money project - referred to as M3 - being spearheaded by Development Bank of Jamaica in collaboration with technology firm Transcel and National Commercial Bank Jamaica. IDB President Luis Moreno signed for the lending agency.

Phillips was accompanied on the Washington trip by Financial Secretary Devon Rowe, Bank of Jamaica Governor Brian Wynter and Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Colin Bullock.