KINGSTON – Jamaica's Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon Audley Shaw, says the Caribbean remains committed to being a vibrant partner in the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) 'Decade of Latin America and the Caribbean (2010-2019)'.
Mr. Shaw, who was speaking on behalf of the English-speaking Caribbean, at the 52nd Annual IDB Board of Governors’ Meeting’s 2nd Plenary Session in Calgary, Canada on Monday March 28, reiterated a call made last year on the IMF and the World Bank Group that the Caribbean, and the multilaterals should move from a partnership for stability to a partnership for growth.
The minister's remarks were made against the background of the Caribbean continuing to trail its Latin American neighbours' economic performance, both in terms of growth rates and capital inflows. He attributed this to “high levels of public debt” which allow little space for fiscal stimulus.
Mr. Shaw expressed gratitude to IDB affiliates – the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) – for their increased activity in the region. He also cited the launch of FINPYME technical assistance and export programmes in Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados and the Bahamas. FINPYME is an IDB diagnostic methodology, used to assist small and medium-sized enterprises to become more competitive and improve their access to financing.
He commended the IDB for securing the largest expansion of resources in its history, and for mounting its biggest ever counter cyclical effort, in response to the global economic crisis.
In 2010, the Bank processed a record US$12.6 billion in loan approvals, and US$10.8 billion in disbursements to Latin American and Caribbean countries. The Caribbean received a record disbursement of US$914 million, with Jamaica receiving the lion’s share of US$630 million.
The IDB is the largest source of development financing for Latin American and Caribbean government agencies and state corporations.
Among the most important news for the region coming out of Monday’s final meeting day, was that the IDB and the Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) signed a letter of intent to establish an infrastructure investment mechanism, to finance public and private sector projects in the IDB borrowing member countries.
The two institutions also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that marks an important first step to set up an investment fund, to forge sustainable economic partnerships between China, Latin America and the Caribbean, by investing in key sectors of interest to both regions.
China Eximbank Executive Vice President, Liu Liange, and IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno, signed both agreements Monday at a ceremony that took place during the meeting.
By BALFORD HENRY, JIS Editor & Reporter