Caribbean cooperation

Development partnerships in the region are making good progress

By Natalia Salazar O

FID is working with several partners in the Caribbean region to help address critical financing needs and deliver socio-economic development.

These partnerships, built and strengthened throughout the past decades, are delivering essential infrastructure and catalysing resources to address one of the region’s most pressing common challenges: climate change. Islands in the Caribbean are prone to natural

hazards including hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and droughts. These hazards have increased in frequency and severity over recent years as a result of climate change. The region is still recovering, for example, from the hurricane season of 2017, which caused unprecedented levels of loss and destruction. It is estimated that over US$6 billion is required in recovery efforts, mainly for infrastructure. One of the most important economic sectors

in the region is tourism. The sector has been adversely affected by the increased frequency of natural disasters. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, in 2016 the sector accounted for a total of US$56.4 billion of GDP, which represented 15.2 percent of the Caribbean’s GDP and 13.8 percent of employment. In some Caribbean countries, tourism accounts for over 25 percent of GDP (more than double the world average of 10.4 percent). Agriculture has historically also played a

central role in Caribbean economies, contributing to domestic food supply and employment generation. However, the sector has declined in terms of production over the past years, due to worldwide commodity prices, increased import demand and natural disasters.

MOBILIZING FUNDS – AND MORE OFID has mobilized a total of US$4.62 billion and financed about 132 projects in the Caribbean region since the organization was established. This work has been made possible thanks to a solid cooperation framework with members of the Arab Coordination Group (ACG) and other


The highlighted infrastructure development projects are helping to improve competitiveness, growth and social development

development finance institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Andean Development Corporation (CAF). The projects have supported the development of the Caribbean’s transport, water and sanitation, and energy sectors. These partnerships have proven important not only because they help maximise financial resources, but also because they promote knowledge sharing, expertise and best practices to deliver practical solutions. Successful results, in particular, have been achieved in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize and Suriname (see below for more detail), among other countries.

TRANSFORMATION AND INTEGRATION TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE While the small economies of the Caribbean can seem disadvantaged in comparison to the more diverse economies of larger countries, island economies in the region have proven able to

PHOTO: Ministry of Works, Belize

REPLACEMENT PROJECT OFID and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are supporting an infrastructure project in Belize. The Haulover Bridge is a 72-year-old bridge that has deteriorated over the past decades. The rehabilitation of this bridge (which spans the Belize River) will facilitate the movement of traffic between Belize City and the international airport, while expressing the country’s identity through its architectural design. The project incorporates appropriate responses to climate risks and the total cost is estimated at US$22.5 million. The economy of Belize is highly reliant on agriculture and tourism – sectors that will benefit from the completed project – which account for 10 percent and 65 percent of the country’s GDP, respectively.


respond quickly to opportunities for innovation and improved competitiveness. The theme of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 49th Annual Meeting this year was ‘transformation’. The event helped promote a regional roadmap based on inclusiveness and innovation to enable the small island economies to achieve regional integration and sustainable development. OFID, in partnership with members of the ACG as well as with CDB and CAF, is keen to explore and adopt innovative development solutions. The main objective in this respect is to support resilience to climate change and help Caribbean countries make progress with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There is still some way to go: despite recent general improvements in living standards, poverty rates in the Latin America and Caribbean region currently average 30 percent. There is clearly a need for greater collaboration and focus.

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