Regional Cooperation and Integration

The post-crisis weak economic recovery in developed countries, combined with the slowdown in economic growth, signal a less favourable international context for small developing countries such as those Member States of CARICOM into much of the next decade or so.

The region continues to grapple with several issues of concern. Among them are:

  • rising levels of youth unemployment
  • the continuing prevalence of HIV notwithstanding the declining rate of new infections
  • the high incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
  • significant levels of poverty especially among women
  • increasing crime
  • violence against women, and
  • poor participation and performance of males in education.

Climate change has emerged as an existential threat to the region that is immediate and real, and cannot be tackled by countries on an individual basis.

These issues demonstrate that regional cooperation and integration must remain a priority for the Caribbean Development Bank. The evolution of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) point to the need to build economic resilience and respond to external global threats such as the growth of mega markets.

Equally, the post-2015 development agenda embodied in the Caribbean-adapted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), requires on-going , coordinated and complementary support if the SDG targets are to be reached.

The establishment of the Regional Coordination and Integration (RCI) focal point represents the Bank’s deep appreciation for the role and importance of RCI, and signals its intention to play a leadership role in supporting regional integration. As such the RCI focal point supports the creation and development of regional public goods (RPGs) which directly facilitate the acceleration of the formal regional integration process.

Priority is given to:

  1. RPGs that are complementary to national and global public goods, thereby ensuring that the RPGs immediately reflect national priorities and international development agendas so as to facilitate increased ownership and incentive to implement
  2. RPGs that seek to include associate members of the OECS and CARICOM
  3. Thematic focus areas and interventions that are complementary to ongoing or proposed regional strategies of our development partners.
  4. Trade Facilitation and Leveraging Partnerships – The bank recognises that effective trade opportunities for the region will be a catalyst to address various development issues within the region such as: youth and unemployment, capacity building amongst MSMEs in the region, citizen security, gender equality, climate change and poverty reduction. Through collaborative effects with the EU and CARIFORUM, the bank is currently managing the EPA and CSME Standby Facilities (collectively valued at EUR6.6 million) through a contribution agreement between the CDB and European Union. This contribution agreement forms part of the 10th European Development Fund, which is a development package for the CARIFORUM member states. (CARIFORUM is made up of the CARICOM member states and the Dominican Republic) The contribution agreement will end in March 2017, and already the 11th EDF, which will run from 2017 to 2020, includes a replenishment of the facilities, with proposed management by the CDB again. The two facilities are specifically aimed at supporting the implementation of the EC-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement and the CSME.
  5. Increasing the awareness and disseminating knowledge about RCI.