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President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. William Warren Smith, says the institution has been instrumental in the transformation of the region, with US$2.5 billion disbursed between 2011 and 2019 for various developmental projects.

He said that US$1.8 billion of the approved funds went towards financing undertakings in transportation, social infrastructure, environment, sea defences, disaster management, reconstruction, and energy.

He noted that despite the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Bank is expected to approve total funding of US$470 million and disbursements of US$367 million for 2020.

Dr. Smith was addressing the virtual staging of the Bank’s 50th Annual Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday (September 30).

The Jamaican, who has been at the helm of the Barbados-based regional development finance institution since 2011, said that the Bank’s support to borrowing countries over the years has helped to narrow the Caribbean’s infrastructure deficit and improve access to social and economic services.

He cited the construction and upgrade of nearly 2,400 kilometres of roads, and investment in the building of more than 1,600 classrooms and training of almost 13,000 teachers to benefit approximately 469,000 students across the Caribbean.

In addition, approximately 62,700 households in several countries now have access to improved water and sanitation services, consequent on the CDB’s funding of the installation and upgrade of over 800 kilometres of supply lines.

Through the Bank’s funding support, 60 communities have benefited from community-based interventions in disaster-risk management to reduce citizens’ vulnerability and strengthen their capacity to cope with hazard events.

Dr. Smith said that significant focus was placed on attracting funding for climate adaptation, renewable energy and energy efficiency in order to make the Caribbean more climate resilient while being better able to sustainably meet collective energy demand.

The CDB was established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).

In addition to the 19 BMCs, which include Jamaica, the CDB’s membership comprises four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela – and five non-regional non-borrowing members – Canada, the People’s Republic of China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

The CDB’s total assets as at December 31, 2019 stood at US$3.59 billion. These include US$2.10 billion of ordinary capital resources and US$1.49 billion of special funds resources.

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