BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Monday, signed a US$50 million loan agreement to support COVID-19 response projects in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Member States.
The agreement was signed by CDB vice-president (Operations) Diana Wilson Patrick and IDB Representative in Barbados, Juan Carlos De la Hoz Vinas.
The loan will provide economic resources to OECS Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
CDB’s vice-president (Operations) Diana Wilson Patrick said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the specialised role that multilateral development banks, like CDB and IDB, play in coordinating development assistance and planning systematic recovery. We reaffirm our commitment to continued collaboration and partnership, to provide our Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) with essential financing, technical support, and policy advice to protect the region’s most vulnerable people and build resilience against shocks like COVID-19.”
General manager of the IDB Caribbean Country Department, Therese Turner-Jones noted, “Since 1977, the IDB has had a long-term collaborative relationship with the CDB. In this way, we are able to extend our mission of improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean to those countries that are not IDB borrowing members but are certainly valued members of an important Caribbean sub-region. The high level of interconnectedness and interdependency between the vulnerable economies of our region has been underscored during this pandemic. Our continued support will help bolster the OECS response to the COVID-19 crisis and pave the way to recovery and greater resilience in the region.”
The loan agreement signed today will finance a programme to help reduce mortality and morbidity from COVID-19 and ensure minimum levels of quality of life and health for vulnerable people in the countries mentioned. In addition, it will provide support for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
To achieve this, the programme focuses on three main components:
- Health – health response, case detection and monitoring;
- Social – transfer to vulnerable populations; and
- Economic – support for MSME financing.
Under the health component, the loan will strengthen response leadership, support the implementation and operationalisation of cross-sector emergency management and monitoring mechanisms, and support COVID-19 transmission control and monitoring protocols, including through the supply of medical equipment and supplies.
The expansion of safety net services using existing cash transfer programmes in each OECS country is a key element of the social component. This includes conditional cash transfers, transfers for persons living with disabilities, school-attendance grants for the vulnerable population, school meal support, and non-contributory pensions. Protection for the vulnerable population working in the formal and informal sectors who are not part of existing cash transfer programmes is also captured.
The economic component will provide financing to improve MSMEs short-term financial capacity and access to production-oriented finance for economic recovery.
The US$50 million loan further enhances CDB’s multi-pronged financial package to help BMCs respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. CDB’s response includes policy-based loans of US$140 million; emergency loans totalling US$67 million to seven countries; and a US$3 million programme to provide essential PPE for 14 countries. In addition, CDB earmarked US$25 million for social protection initiatives, and for support to the agricultural sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.