JIS News

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Honourable Audley Shaw, this morning (October 7), thanked the World Bank for extending a US$15 million loan for the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Project, which is aimed at improving market access for micro and small-scale rural agricultural producers, and for tourism product and service providers in Jamaica.
The Minister was speaking during a meeting of Finance Ministers of the CARICOM region with World Bank President, Mr. Robert Zoellick, during the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), held in Istanbul, Turkey over the period October 3 to 7.
Minister Shaw acknowledged that projects like REDI can assist in rural transformation and empowerment, and appealed to the Bank to play a greater role in the economic transformation of the Caribbean. He also welcomed the establishment in Jamaica of offices of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, to promote private sector investment in infrastructure and small business.
Mr. Shaw called on the World Bank to work in co-operation with the IMF in finding sustainable solutions to the region’s problems, which were now being exacerbated by the world economic crisis. Specifically, the Minister spoke to the impact of the crisis on the Jamaican economy, including plunging revenues from reduced remittances and foreign exchange flows, as well as reduced earnings from the bauxite industry. Minister Shaw encouraged the Bank to intensify its efforts in working with Jamaica to find innovative solutions to the country’s high indebtedness.
The Minister, accompanied by Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Hon. Derick Latibeaudiere, also met with First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, John Lipski, and held detailed technical discussions with Deputy Managing Director Mr. Takatoshi Kato,, and , Director, Western Hemisphere Department Nicolas Eyzaguirre, on Jamaica’s medium term programme in support of a Standby Agreement with the Fund.
Several other meetings were held over the period, including discussions with Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Bank, Ms. Pamela Cox; Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Ms. Nancy Lee, and Finance Minister of Canada, James Flaherty.
Minister Shaw leaves Istanbul today to attend a meeting of the Committee of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Madrid, Spain, during which he will be having discussions with IDB President, Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno and other senior officials of the IDB, on proposed IDB assistance to Jamaica.
Other members of the delegation to the Annual Meetings are Division Chief, Banking and Market Operations, Bank of Jamaica, Mrs. Natalie Haynes; Director, External Co-operation Division, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Ms. Barbara Scott, and Chief Technical Advisor to the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Wayne Henry.
Minister Shaw returns to the island on the weekend.

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