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Caribbean Development Bank

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Tessa Williams-Robertson, Head of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Unit, Caribbean Development Bank is pictured giving remarks at The Opening Ceremony of The Fifth Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum (CSEF) held at The Hilton. Photos Shawn Hanna

By Desmond Brown – Executive Editor

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Jan 23 2017 – An official of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has reiterated a statement made by its president in 2014, which points to the need to move away from imported fossil fuels.

“Unless we can reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and unless we can substantially reduce energy costs, we will not succeed in improving our competitiveness and reducing our vulnerability to external shocks,” Head of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the CDB, Tessa Williams-Robertson said.

Speaking here at the opening of the fifth Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum (CSEF), Mrs. Williams-Robertson said the meeting plays an important role in facilitating dialogue on sustainable energy development; creating a space for sharing good practices, ideas and lessons learned; and in driving decision-making, policy and action across the Caribbean.

Since 2015, the CDB has been making renewable energy and energy efficiency a consideration across investments in all sectors and Mrs Williams Robertson said there were immediate results associated with this thrust.

“Project planners in the education, agriculture and water sectors, were persuaded to include specific components to address the installation of solar PV where appropriate and/or subjected to energy audits to determine Energy Efficiency Measures,” she said.

“The Basic Needs Trust Fund, our flagship poverty-reduction programme, was a frontrunner in this process. Through small but critical interventions, BNTF powered schools in Guyana’s hinterland by incorporating solar PV with battery storage. Thanks to the installation of solar water pumps, villages – including those in rural areas of Guyana and Belize – now have better access to a reliable, potable supply of water.”

The CDB official noted that when the bank prioritised energy security in its strategic plan, it was aware that concessional financial would be critical to transforming the energy sector and it has been working diligently to mobilise such funding.

“Today we are pleased to report that we have had some successes in this area, raising grant resources and technical support from the Government of Canada; the European Investment Bank Climate Action Line of Credit; the European Union Caribbean Investment Facility, the Government of Germany, the Inter-American Development Bank-financed Sustainable Energy Facility, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development,” Mrs Williams-Robertson announced.

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ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Dec 15 2016 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant that will assist the Government of Grenada in its efforts to improve the efficiency of the country’s water and sewerage network.

The Government is proposing to expand the St. George’s Water Supply System and make improvements to the sewerage system in St. George’s.

A feasibility study will be undertaken to inform how these improvements may best be facilitated. This study will update a sewerage project draft design report; prepare detailed designs for the upgrade of the Carenage/Lagoon Road Wastewater Collection System; examine the most feasible option for the expansion of the Southern St. George’s Water Supply; and formulate designs for the recommended solution.

In addition to the technical assistance grant provided by CDB — utilising resources allocated from UKCIF — Grenada’s National Water and Sewerage Authority will contribute to the project. The total estimated cost of the technical assistance is £834,300.

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Dec 12 2016 – The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a US$5.79 million Street Lighting Retrofitting Project for St. Kitts and Nevis.

The intervention is expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from street lighting by 53 percent per year, and reduce the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis’ street and flood lighting electricity bill by 44 percent, by 2019.

The intervention will replace and retrofit approximately 10,650 high pressure sodium and mercury vapour street lamps with high efficiency light-emitting diode (LED) lamps across the dual-island nation. The Project aims to install 5,550 LED lamps in St. Kitts and 5,100 in Nevis by December 31, 2018.

In addition to financing from CDB, the initiative will be supported by a contribution of US$617,000 from the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, the St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited and Nevis Electricity Company Limited. In addition to reducing energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gases, the project aims to reduce the country’s oil imports by 305,000 imperial

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec 10 2016 – The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a country strategy for Guyana for the period 2017 to 2021.

The programme of assistance will drive social and economic development; support environmental sustainability; and promote good governance in Guyana.

The strategy will be supported by a proposed resource envelope of US$194 million.

Each intervention delivered under the country strategy will include gender equality, regional cooperation and integration, as well as energy and citizen security considerations.

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec 10 2016 – The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a country strategy for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for the period 2017 to 2021.

The strategy proposes financial support of US$436.7 million from CDB.

“This strategy underscores CDB’s longstanding commitment to helping Trinidad and Tobago achieve its development priorities. It will provide focused support that aims to unlock the country’s potential for economic and social development, improve competitiveness, promote good governance, and drive environmental sustainability,” said Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics, CDB.

Gender equality, as well as energy security and citizen security considerations, will be mainstreamed in CDB’s interventions delivered under the strategy.

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This news article is a production distributed through Caribbean News Service. It is made freely available to your media and we encourage publishing and redistribution, giving credit to Caribbean News Service (CNS).   

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 02 2016 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced that it will contribute US$500,000 to give female and male entrepreneurs in Haiti better access to business loan and savings products.

The Bank’s funding will specifically focus on underserved and unserved micro, very small and small enterprises (MSEs) on the island.

In Haiti, few financial institutions cater to the needs of the country’s MSEs, whose average financing needs range from US$6,000 to US$23,000. Overall, these businesses face an aggregate financing gap of US$1.9 billion.

The Bank’s contribution will be made through the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The funds will be used to establish a specialised MSE business financing assessment unit, Centre Financier pour Entrepreneurs (CFE). The unit will be set up within Le Levier, a financial institution which has a network of 43 savings and credit cooperatives across Haiti’s 10 departments and 72 branches.

This initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of the financial institutions within Le Levier’s network to better appraise credit applications from MSE clients. With this process in place, MSE owners are expected to have better access to financing instruments that best suit their needs.

Haiti is one of the Bank’s newest member countries, having joined the Bank in 2007.

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This news article is a production distributed through Caribbean News Service. It is made freely available to your media and we encourage publishing and redistribution, giving credit to Caribbean News Service (CNS).   

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, May 18 2016President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Warren Smith today urged the Region’s governments to be resolute in creating a competitive and resilient private-sector-driven economy through the adoption of a range of macro-economic and business-friendly reforms.

He also called for a closer alignment of the education system to the needs of the productive sector; climate-proofing critical social and economic infrastructure against natural hazards; diversifying economies by developing new sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency; and modernising traditional ones such as agriculture.

Speaking at the official opening of the 46th Annual Meeting of the CDB in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Dr Smith made his call against the background of what he said was the Region having made progress but still being substantially short of realizing its true potential.

Noting that a stable, predictable, and resilient macro-economic environment was imperative for growth and prosperity, Dr Smith warned that countries with weak fiscal positions that postpone adjustment for fear of the political and economic fallout could not do so indefinitely.

Instead, he said, pursuing necessary adjustments successfully, would release resources for the transformation of education and training of the labour force, and for financing targeted social safety net programmes for the most vulnerable.

A comparison of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries to other groupings suggests that non-Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDs) fared much better than the Region did in the wake of the global recession.

“Between 2006 and 2015, Caribbean growth rates averaged 1.5 percent compared with 3.4 percent for other SIDs. Small size then, does not appear to provide a robust explanation for the Caribbean’s relatively low growth performance,” Dr Smith said.

A distinguishing feature of economies which have been successfully transformed.was a dynamic private sector driving economic growth. This, however, did not mean a withdrawal of the state from economic involvement. Rather, the state assumes the role of enabler, making the domestic policy environment more attractive for private foreign and domestic investment and itself investing in infrastructure which complements the growth agenda.

In outlining additional measures to achieve prosperity, Dr Smith said governments must pursue strategies that promote higher, more predictable and sustainable rates of economic growth.

“Our overall growth performance has consistently lagged behind the rest of the world’s. Our Region has grown by only 1.2 percent per year since 2009 compared with the global average of 3.7 percent.  Caught in a high-debt, low-growth trap, our economies have been unable to create enough of the higher value employment opportunities that are a pre-requisite for noticeable improvements in our poverty indices,” he said.

Caribbean countries, especially the larger ones, will therefore need to make the shift from current incremental rates of growth of 1.2 percent to transformational rates of at least 5-7 percent per annum in order to create the basis for ending abject poverty by 2030.

“Given the prevailing high levels of inequality, the more aggressive growth rates will also need to be accompanied by (a) distributional policies that spread wealth more equitably; and (b) reinforced by an enlightened and efficient social policy which targets the most vulnerable in society, mainly women and children,” he said.

While focussing on the importance of macro-economic policies and reforms to create a more business friendly environment, Dr Smith said there were other areas that should be tackled to spur more sustainable growth. These include reforming the region’s education sector and agriculture.

He said the reform of the education system in the Caribbean, in support of robust and resilient economic growth, will have to achieve a closer alignment between the needs of the productive sector and the output of the education system. Greater emphasis will therefore have to be paid to TVET and the STEM subjects, generally.

”It will be nimble and responsive to the changing labour market needs so that a continuous pipeline of appropriately skilled talent will be available for business expansion,” Dr Smith said.

With reference to non-traditional agriculture, he said this was one sector that could play a key role in transforming Caribbean economies; spurring development; increasing food security; expanding export earnings; creating jobs; and improving livelihoods.  However, while agriculture is the main employer in many Caribbean countries, accounting for approximately 16 percent of overall employment in the region, much of the non-traditional agriculture sector remains low value-adding, low-tech, low productivity, and inefficient.

“With the appropriate reorientation and investment, this sector can increase employment; earn foreign exchange through export expansion; and save foreign exchange by strengthening linkages between the domestic agricultural supply chains and dynamic sectors such as tourism and manufacturing,” he said.

 

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This news article is a production distributed through Caribbean News Service. It is made freely available to your media and we encourage publishing and redistribution, giving credit to Caribbean News Service (CNS).  

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, May 18 2016More than 30,000 people in eight territories benefited from Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) sponsored infrastructure and technical assistance projects in the Region in 2015.

The Bank, in its 2015 Annual Report, says projects included the construction and upgrading of approximately 84 kilometres (km) of roads, and the installation of some 12 km of supply mains.

Seventeen new capital and Technical Assistance (TA) interventions were also approved for economic infrastructure development in Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia, and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). Interventions were made in the energy, transportation, water and sanitation sectors, as well as post-disaster response.

Among them was the installation of a one Megawatt Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Plant at Corito to introduce Renewable Energy (RE) into the generating capacity of the Anguilla Electricity Company Limited (ANGLEC). This project was accorded high priority by both ANGLEC and the Government of Anguilla, as it will support the government’s stated objective to transform the country into a carbon neutral economy; reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports for electricity generation; and move the country toward energy security.

In the area of transportation, TCI received USD199,650 for the formulation of a Master Plan for the country’s transport sector. The main objective is to provide TCI with comprehensive information about major investments in all transport sub-sectors.

This is aimed at enabling: (a) improved connectivity across the archipelago through a co-ordinated and enhanced transport network; (b) provision of infrastructure to support private sector development and promote gender equity, as well as community participation; inclusive growth and, (c) contribution to climate-resilient growth, protection of livelihoods and natural resources.

To tackle drainage problems, Barbados received a loan of USD7.13 million to assist in financing the final segment of upgrading works at the Constitution River, the primary drainage channel through the capital, Bridgetown.

This project, which will cover 0.45 km of drainage channel; improve the infrastructure to an adjoining community; and enhance the capacity of the drainage division by the end of 2017, is expected to reduce flooding in Bridgetown, and enhance public health by mitigating the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

During the year, St. Lucia was provided a loan of USD15.3 million to help develop a reliable and climate-resilient supply of potable water to residents and businesses in the north of the country.

A portion of the funds will also be used to enhance the governance and operation of the Water and Sewerage Company Inc., with emphasis on gender inclusion, climate resilience planning, and financial management. The project will remove and dispose of sediment in the existing dam, which has reduced its effective capacity to approximately 60 percent. On completion, it is expected that disruption in supply, due to water shortages, will be reduced from 30 days to eight days annually. The improved system will serve some 28,000 households.

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This news article is a production distributed through Caribbean News Service. It is made freely available to your media and we encourage publishing and redistribution, giving credit to Caribbean News Service (CNS).  

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica May 18 2016 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) increased its capacity-building work in the Region in 2015, focusing on climate adaptation, renewable energy, public sanitation, environmental awareness and sustainability programmes.

In this regard, financing was provided to help Haiti improve its population’s access to sanitation services. The Bank is also collaborating with the National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation (DINEPA), the agency charged with reforming this sector, to co-ordinate the Governance and Sanitation Training Programme, which began in December 2015 and will continue to April 2016.

The Programme, being conducted in French, comprises the delivery of The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR’s) 12-week Governance and Urban Sanitation online course and a five-day workshop to 41 technical- and management-level sanitation professionals from DINEPA, the ministries responsible for environment and health, and two non-government organisations.

In its 2015 Annual Report, the Bank notes that to ensure that environmental sustainability considerations are fully integrated in its operational work programme, CDB is promoting growth by investing in renewable energy (RE), strengthening critical infrastructure to withstand weather disasters, and the building of more robust communities. It is also strengthening environmental governance, management capacity and public awareness, at national and regional levels.

In compliance with the requirements of its Environmental and Social Review Procedures (ESRP), all investment projects were screened and categorised for potential impacts, to ensure that identified environmental and social risks were effectively managed.

CDB has also moved to prioritise the financing of climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives as well as ensure that these considerations are a central part of the Bank’s investment operations.

The John Compton Dam Rehabilitation Project in St. Lucia, the Anguilla Solar Photovoltaic Project and the Bahamas Water Supply Improvement Project for example, were screened and subjected to detailed vulnerability assessments and adaptation measures, which were explicitly incorporated in their design.

Given the significant investment in the St. Lucia Water and Sewerage Company’s (WASCO) capital programme, a similar approach is being taken to help strengthen WASCO’s capacity to withstand climate risks.

The Bank says climate risk assessments and the use of related screening tools are now mandatory in the preparation of country strategy papers (CSP) for each Borrowing Member Country (BMC). These were included in the CSP for the TCI, which was approved in October 2015.

In the area of disaster relief, CDB provided USD30 million to assist with immediate recovery efforts in Dominica response to the severe damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika. The funds were also to help with long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation. Emergency supplies and services were financed through a grant of USD200,000.

In addition, the Bank facilitated an Emergency Assistance Relief Grant of USD200,000 to Dominica from the IDB. An allocation of USD2.4 million helped the Government of Haiti to meet its annual insurance premium to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) also received technical assistance support of USD98,313 to improve its procurement and contract administration systems.

To help with capacity building, CDB’s staff and technical personnel from several BMC institutions participated in a range of training activities designed to strengthen skills, improve knowledge and facilitate the dissemination of information to enhance awareness of climate change and disaster risk reduction issues.

These initiatives were targeted to achieve environmental sustainability outcomes.

In collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), 133 persons from public sector and non-governmental organisations in Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were trained to use the CCCCC’s Online Risk Assessment Tool (CCORAL), which was developed to guide related decision making.

The Bank also updated the 2004 Sourcebook on the Integration of Natural Hazards into the Environmental Impact Assessment process, and hosted a workshop on this subject for environmental professionals from 12 BMCs and three regional institutions.

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 17 2016 – The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on Monday approved a country partnership strategy for Anguilla for the next four years. The partnership supports the Government of Anguilla in confronting the pressing development challenges the country faces.

CDB has proposed a resource envelope of approximately USD35.3 million for the implementation of the strategy, which aims to achieve four key outcomes: improved banking system stability; a better environment for business and investment; upgrades to transport infrastructure; and increased renewable energy capacity.

“This strategy will address the development constraints which stand between Anguilla and its long-term economic growth. Through this programme, CDB will support the Government of Anguilla in restoring the soundness and stability of the country’s financial services sector, and making its private sector more competitive,” said Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics, CDB.

The Anguillan economy, vulnerable to the global economic and financial crisis, experienced a slump in economic performance between 2008 and 2012. Since 2013, the economy has averaged 3.1 percent real economic growth in the midst of continuing improvement of fiscal performance.  Although the growth outlook has improved, the Government of Anguilla faces severe challenges and risks to sustaining growth recovery and economic stability. These include obstacles to business development; lack of access to the island by air and sea; and climate change.

CDB, through the country partnership strategy, proposes to

  • provide financial resources to support financial sector reforms;
  • promote a more enabling environment for private sector development, particularly of small and medium enterprises that currently face problems in accessing finance;
  • help the Government of Anguilla assess the viability of upgrading the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal through public-private partnership support; and
  • promote the development of renewable energy options, including assisting in funding a 1 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant to increase renewable energy output in the country’s electricity mix.

CDB has supported Anguilla’s development over the years in several areas, including transportation and communication; education; power and energy. Over the period 1970 to 2014, the Bank approved USD112.1 million in loans, contingency loans, equity and grants to Anguilla.