He told reporters that Belize, St. Lucia and Suriname were the three largest beneficiaries of loans and that in addition to the grants approved in 2016, the Bank began implementing the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UK CIF).
UK CIF is a £300 million (One British Pound =US$1.24 cents) grant programme for transformational infrastructure projects in eight Caribbean countries and one British overseas territory, which CDB administers.
The bank said £16.4 million in grants was approved for projects and technical assistance in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica and Grenada.
“We reached noteworthy milestones in deepening our strategic partnerships and successfully mobilising financial resources that our BMCs (Borrowing member countries) can use to craft appropriate responses to their development challenges,” said Smith, noting that UK CIF was among the Bank’s partnership highlights in 2016.
Last year, the Bank also signed a Credit Facility Agreement with Agence Française de Développement. It included a US$33 million loan to support sustainable infrastructure projects and a three million Euro (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) grant to fund feasibility studies for projects eligible for financing under the credit facility.
The CDB said that in 2016, it entered an arrangement with the Government of Canada for the establishment and administration of a five million Canadian dollar (One Canada dollar =US$0.76 cents) fund to build capacity in the energy sector, The Canadian Support to the Energy Sector in the Caribbean Fund.
Smith said these recent partnerships are part of the Bank’s drive to raise appropriately-priced resources mainly for financing projects with a strong focus on climate adaptation, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Smith also announced that the CDB became an accredited partner institution of both the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund in 2016.
“The Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund have opened new gateways to much-needed grant and or low-cost financing to address climate change vulnerabilities in all of our BMCs ,” Smith told the media.
The President also confirmed that, in 2016, CDB completed negotiations for the replenishment of the Special Development Fund (SDF), the Bank’s largest pool of concessionary funds.
Contributors agreed to an overall programme of US$355 million for the period 2017-2020, and lowered the SDF interest rate from a range of 2 to 2.5 per cent to one per cent.
The programme approved includes US$45 million for Haiti and USD40 million for the Basic Needs Trust Fund. This marked the ninth replenishment of the SDF, which helps meet the Caribbean Region’s high-priority development needs.
In his statement, Smith also reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to drive sustained and inclusive income growth, complemented by improvements in living standards in its BMCs. This, he said, was critical, as economic growth across the Region remains uneven, with fragile recovery expected to continue into 2017.
“At the core of our operations is the desire to better the lives of Caribbean people. That is the context within which we help to design, appraise and evaluate every project we finance,” Smith said.
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