CDB approves Country Strategy for Antigua and Barbuda

The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a Country Strategy for Antigua and Barbuda for the period 2015-18. The Country Strategy document outlines the assistance strategy and planned strategic focus to accelerate the country’s economic growth and pursue sustainable development over the outlined period. The total amount of CDB financing is estimated at USD 106.1 million.

Dr. Justine Ram, Director of Economics at CDB, said “The CDB interventions detailed in the Country Strategy paper will focus at this point on setting the stage for future investments, while providing resources for critical core areas. CDB will continue to work closely with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to ensure strong country ownership of the strategies outlined in this plan.”

The Country Strategy was developed in consultation with officials of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as other key stakeholders. Interventions over the period 2015-18 will be geared towards achieving seven outcomes, namely: financial sector stability; improved access to and quality of education; improved physical infrastructure; reduced cost of energy and cleaner energy; increased private sector competitiveness; adequate water and sanitation facilities and better economic management.

Whitfield Harris, Jr., Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration, and CDB Director for Antigua, said “it was a collaborative effort, and we agree with those broad areas of intervention that were identified by the CDB amongst them being financial sector stability, improved access to quality education, improved physical infrastructure and the reduced cost of energy and clean energy. We think that those interventions will assist us in meeting our fiscal, economic and developmental objectives that will set us on a sustainable development path.”

A major component of the strategy is a proposed USD 50 million Policy-based Loan (PBL), which will be used to support efforts towards stabilizing the financial sector and also encourage continued fiscal reforms. Other interventions include proposed technical assistance to the Government to adequately structure engagements with the private sector, including through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). This will be done through the Regional PPP Support facility, the first phase of which was launched by CDB in May 2015.

The CDB Country Strategy closely aligns with the medium-term priorities in the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Medium Term Development Strategy (MTDS), which was recently prepared for the period 2015-19. The MTDS reflects a sustainable development approach, with the long term goal being to improve the quality of life of all Antiguans and Barbudans.