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Head of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Social Sector Division, Yvonne Moses Grant, has said that institution was providing support for Jamaica as the country deals with the global financial crisis, with loan and grant disbursements to the country during 2008, reaching a record US$160 million and US$5 million, respectively.
She was addressing the launch of the University of Technology’s (UTech) US$43.9 million Enhancement Project at the institution’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) in St. Andrew on Thursday (March 12).
These funds, she outlined, would be used to support the government’s fiscal and debt sustainability initiatives, agricultural development, post-hurricane response activity, drainage rehabilitation in Kingston, upgrading and expansion of the Norman Manley International Airport, improvements in the social and economic infrastructure, and skills training for vulnerable communities, with the latter intervention to be executed through the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
The CDB official said, however, that these interventions would only assist in addressing short to medium-term imbalances in the economy, noting that “stimulating growth and reducing poverty will necessitate the adoption of other measures to address existing structural weaknesses in the economy, and build the required human resource capacity.”
She stated that Jamaica must implement measures that would enhance growth, tackle poverty, and address “existing infrastructural weaknesses in the economy,” in order to augment assistance from multi-lateral organizations like the CDB, and employ innovation, which would assist in cushioning some of the adverse effects anticipated over forthcoming months.
She lamented that the “poor and vulnerable” in countries facing the ripple effects of declining Gross Domestic Product (GDP) levels, reductions in external financing, resulting in deteriorating foreign exchange reserves, and falling remittances, will be severely affected, adding that “the resulting negative effect is of concern to all of us.”
The UTech Enhancement Project will comprise expansion and upgrading of the institution’s facilities, to meet the demands of an expanded student population and programme offerings.
The CDB will be providing a US$26.9 million loan towards the project, with the UTech contributing US$17million.
Over its 50-year existence, enrolment at UTech has grown from 50 students pursuing four programmes, to upwards of 10,500, engaged in some 100 disciplines.

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