The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced US$40 million in funding for poverty reduction in eight countries in the Caribbean Region, through the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
The funds will support improved access to quality education; water and sanitation; basic community access and drainage; livelihoods’ enhancement and human resource development services in low-income and vulnerable communities under the ninth phase of the BNTF (BNTF 9) according to a CDB news update issued on Monday (March 20, 2017).
Apart from Guyana, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname are to benefit.
According to the Barbados’ CDB Director of Projects, Daniel Best, “The participating countries share many common characteristics and face a number of challenges inherent to small, open economies. BNTF 9 will respond to the development needs of these countries, which face challenges associated with limited diversity in production and extreme vulnerability to natural hazards, which is now exacerbated by climate change and other external shocks.”
Initiatives under BNTF9 will be implemented during the period March 2017 to December 2020, the news release stated. Governments of the eight participating countries will provide total counterpart funding of US $6.04 million.
The BNTF Programme began in 1979. It supports a socially inclusive development process that empowers the poor and vulnerable and supports institutional development. BNTF has implemented more than 2,750 sub-projects, directly impacting the lives of more than three million beneficiaries in poor communities.
The programme is CDB’s main vehicle for tackling poverty in the Region, through the provision of basic infrastructure and skills training towards improving the livelihoods of beneficiaries in participating countries. BNTF projects are implemented through grant financing from the Bank’s Special Development Fund, the news release stated.
BNTF aligns with CDB’s objective of poverty reduction through inclusive and sustainable economic growth, as articulated in the Bank’s Strategic Plan 2015 to 2019.
Guyana has been a beneficiary of many CDB loans for various aspects of the country’s development. In April 2016, the CDB and the Guyana Government launched the US$30.9M sea and river defence resilience project to provide for the construction and improvement of 5.4kilometers of sea and river defence, in Regions Two, Three, Four and Six.
In 2015, the US $46.8M Parika to Vreed-en-Hoop Road project that is being funded by the CDB was launched. The upgrade will cater for the rehabilitation of the 30.7-kilometre road from Vreed-en-Hoop to Hydronie.