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  • The Government and the World Bank have signed a US$40-million loan agreement for implementation of the second phase of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI II).
  • The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke; and World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, Tasheen Sayed, during a ceremony held at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices, today (March 3).
  • The objective of the project is to enhance access to markets and to climate-resilience approaches for targeted beneficiaries.

The Government and the World Bank have signed a US$40-million loan agreement for implementation of the second phase of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI II).

The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke; and World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries, Latin America and the Caribbean Region, Tasheen Sayed, during a ceremony held at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle offices, today (March 3).

The objective of the project is to enhance access to markets and to climate-resilience approaches for targeted beneficiaries.

According to the World Bank, the project will improve access to markets and resilience to climate change for around 200 agricultural and rural tourism micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

It will also provide training for relevant public-sector institutions and partners. Around 70,000 people are expected to benefit from investments in productive activities, training, and capacity building, with inclusion of youth and women as a priority.

The Jamaican Social Investment Fund (JSIF) will implement REDI II on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.

In his remarks, Dr. Clarke noted that the project is geared towards increasing the viability of rural agriculture and the linkages between rural agriculture, tourism and community-based tourism activities.

“It will consist of multiple parts and the first [segment] will seek to ensure that the linkages within the rural economy are strengthened through initiatives such as ensuring we can have access to drought-resistant crops, and that the supply chain is strengthened through the implementation of cold storage facilities, and drying and packing houses,” he said.

The project is segmented into four components, which comprise Climate Resilient Agricultural and Community Tourism Investments for Rural Enterprises; Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building for Public Entities; Project Management, Monitoring, and Evaluation; and Contingent Emergency Response.

Dr. Clarke said the REDI II programme will deepen the availability of attractions that are community-based, including assisting with the development of new trails and gastronomical experiences.

For her part, Ms. Sayed noted that the World Bank is very proud that it can contribute to enhancing growth, and improving employment opportunities in Jamaica.

“We hope that this project can help your agricultural sector and also connect the linkages. There are multiple parts to this project… that are important to connect to the tourism sector, connect to economic productivity and growth and hence the multiple ministries involved,” she said.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said the funds will provide an opportunity to increase youth participation in agriculture and small business enterprises.

“The maximum grant given under REDI was close to $200,000. This programme (REDI II), we are targeting close to $500,000 in single grants to the beneficiaries of these small [and] medium enterprises,” he pointed out.

The first phase of the REDI project successfully concluded in 2017. It benefited more than 19,000 micro and small-scale rural producers as well as providers of tourism products and services. Among them, 22 per cent were younger than 30 and 51 per cent were women.

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