Caribbean Development Bank’s response to COVID-19 pandemic

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is a regional financial organization set up by an Agreement endorsed on October 18, 1969, in Kingston, Jamaica, and came into power on January 26, 1970. The Bank was created to provide agreeable economic development and improvement of member nations in the Caribbean and advance economic collaboration and incorporation among them, having unique and pressing respect to the necessities of the less developed members of the region.

The Bank endows into the financial and social advancement of its Borrowing Member Countries. These ventures are equipped towards reducing poverty span areas, for example, agriculture and rural development, energy, and water and sanitation. It has various projects through which it serves its Borrowing Member Countries. The projects offer technical support and funds and, in some cases, are funded in association with other development agencies.

CDB is often the fundamental accomplice that some of the Borrowing Member Countries depend on for financing, technical guidance, and policy guidance during emergencies. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed many lives, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) affirmed a multi-pronged financial package to help the members, which incorporates strategy-based loans of US$ 140 million; emergency loans of US$ 67 million to seven nations; and US$ 3 million programs for the obtainment of these critically required supplies, for example, personal protective equipment for Caribbean medical services and frontline.
It incorporates nations like Antigua and Barbuda (US$13 million), Belize (US$15 million), Dominica (US$2.5 million), Grenada (US$5.9 million), Saint Lucia (US$10.8 million), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (US$11.3 million), and Suriname (US$8.2 million).

Considering the severe vulnerability level, it is probable that 1-2% could be shaved off past evaluations of worldwide growth because of COVID-19. For the Caribbean Region, the effect could be much more significant. CDB thereby has taken action towards the need of its Borrowing Member for support during this emergency by expanding the limit of its policy-based loans. These loans are intended to respond to exogenous stuns and help economic growth and poverty reduction through policy reforms.

As per the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), personal protective equipment like mask goggles, gloves, and safety outfits are among the chief items needed by BMCs to improve their COVID-19 readiness and response. CDB will centrally get this protective equipment. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, which are liable for crisis response coordination for the Region’s wellbeing area, will work intimately with public governments to recognize their necessities. In association with CDEMA, the Bank will disseminate the equipment to eligible Borrowing Member Countries.

Likewise, it will give essential liquidity and increment governments’ monetary space to permit these nations to speedily meet their earnest financing needs without redirecting assets from necessary social expenditure or health emergency needs. Caribbean nations are particularly powerless against the worldwide Coronavirus episode because of their significant reliance on the travel industry for income and employment. It is additionally expected that the social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be huge, coming from an expansion in joblessness, and loss of pay and jobs, generous disturbances of social services, with women, female heads of family units and kids, people with disabilities, indigenous people groups, and migrants as the most susceptible groups.

The allocation of US$140 million will therefore be intended predominantly towards the most vulnerable groups and give the most noteworthy need to reinforcing social safety nets in Borrowing Member Countries to cope with COVID-19.

Dr. Wm Warren Smith CDB President, stated that “The provision of support to the seven countries to respond to COVID-19 and keep critical government services and operations running is urgent to halt the economic decline and minimise social hardship, while giving focused attention to the most vulnerable people.”

Photo Credit : https://caricom.org/