CDB to Establish Interest Subsidisation Fund to Assist Borrowing Member CountriesThe Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is to establish a mechanism to subsidise the interest on loans from the Bank's Ordinary Capital Resources to assist some of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). Approval to establish the Interest Subsidisation Fund was given at a meeting of the Bank's Board of Directors at CDB Headquarters in Barbados on February 28th, 2007.CDB says the move to set up the fund was prompted by the fact that a number of its BMCs are facing severe fiscal and debt sustainability challenges that are constraining their ability to embark on the major restructuring required to sustain past rates of economic and social gains, and to effectively insert their economies into the global economic environment. The Bank expects that lowering the average cost of debt will contribute to improving the debt dynamics of the targeted countries.Countries eligible for this assistance in the pilot phase are Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The direct impact of the fund on these BMCs will be a reduction in interest payments on CDB loans, contributing to provision of the fiscal space necessary to facilitate poverty reducing and growth enhancing investments. It will also improve CDB's development effectiveness by assisting the countries to address fiscal and debt sustainability. The Interest Subsidisation Fund will initially be capitalised with an amount of USD21 million. CDB to Provide Technical Assistance for Regional Demographic AnalysisA regional project to build the capacities of statistical institutions to provide data for policy planning and decision-making, including reporting on the Millennium Development Goals, is to receive financial assistance from CDB. The Board of Directors approved a grant to the CARICOM Secretariat of an amount not exceeding USD921,000 for this purpose. Personnel from national statistical offices in member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the CARICOM Secretariat itself, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States will be beneficiaries of the training. The general objective of the training programme is to provide a pool of trained statistical personnel over a three-year period, by building the capacity of statisticians and social researchers to analyse demographic data in the conduct of research and in policy formation.The programme will consist of three seven-week training workshops in demographic analysis, to be held in 2007, 2008 and 2009. It will also include a monitoring and evaluation system to assess the post-training activities and performance of participants trained in demography, and an introductory course on the principles of demography for senior statisticians who are not directly involved in demographic analysis. CDB believes that this regional approach could also lead to the development of a harmonised framework which would allow data to be compared across countries.