Tuesday 26 May, 2020

7 Caribbean countries get millions in CDB loans to fight COVID-19

[iStock.com/oonal]

[iStock.com/oonal]

Antigua and Barbuda is one of seven countries slated to receive financial assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank.

On Monday the Board of Directors approved US$66.7 million in emergency loans to aid the approved countries in their fight against COVID-19.

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CDB President Dr Warren Smith, said: “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.”

The Caribbean Development Bank said the emergency loans are being offered under its most concessional terms.

The aim, it contends, is to give regional governments the fiscal space needed to meet urgent financing needs without being forced to divert resources from other critical areas.

The countries that have been identified as the first to benefit from the CDB’s COVID-relief loans are:

  • 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- US$11.3 million
  • Suriname- US$8.2 million

The CDB in a statement said because of their dependency on tourism for income and employment, Caribbean countries are particularly vulnerable to the global outbreak.

The Bank estimates that many of these countries will fall into recession this year.

The CDB predicts that gross domestic product will decline in the seven countries first in line to benefit from the emergency loan.

  • Antigua and Barbuda by 1.5%
  • Belize 5.4%
  • Dominica 2.9%
  • Grenada 10%
  • Saint Lucia 9.1%
  • Belize 5.4%
  • Suriname 3%

To date the CDB’s response to COVID-19 has exceeded US$200 million.

US$140 million has also been allocated for the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries to tackle the fallout of the pandemic as well as any other shocks to their economy and US$3 million for the purchase of personal protective equipment. 

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