News Release

CDB focused on increasing the region’s access to financing

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President Leon standing at lectern delivering remarks with member countries flags in the background

Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) President, Dr. Gene Leon, committed the organisation to accelerating efforts to access the projected USD 100 billon (bn) required to achieve the development envisioned for the region.  

Speaking at the Bank’s 52nd Annual Meeting, Dr. Leon said the Bank will explore new mechanisms and leverage existing sources to crowd in funding for an ambitious development agenda over the next 3 years. “We estimate that sustainable energy will require at least USD40 bn, water and sanitation USD22 bn, transportation USD11.5 bn, agriculture and food security USD13bn, and digital transformation another USD12 bn.” the CDB President told the Board of Governors at the opening session of the meeting. Adding that priority will be placed on improving regional food, energy and water security which are tied to resilience buckets in the institution’s corporate strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

While indicating that the Bank is looking at SDG themed bonds, private equity, contingent debt, derivative based instruments - similar to the Belize debt swap - and concessional funding, President Leon expressed a desire to introduce mechanisms to increase the affordability of funding to the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries. Strategies and tools to be utilised by the Bank to address this issue, include the Recovery Duration Adjuster, (RDA) a mechanism which considers and incorporates the impact of economic shocks on countries and the time and resources required to recover in order to achieve development goals. The RDA can assist many small island developing states that are limited in accessing funding under current vulnerability assessment regimes.  

Although the Bank has committed to innovate to source funds for regional and national development, Dr. Leon also stated that capacity issues need to be addressed at the national level, “Having adequate and affordable finance, creating opportunities of demand, and promoting partnerships will not yield optimal, sustainable outcomes without effective implementation capacity” he told the gathering. Adding that decisive steps to address bottlenecks impacting effective implementation including legislative reform to facilitate investment and innovation; reducing bureaucracy and increasing the efficiency of procurement while enhancing project and people management, expanding skill sets, and encouraging a cultural change in mindset are required to facilitate anticipated increases in development related activities nationally.  

He outlined to the Board of Governors that the Bank is energized and ready to support the mammoth undertaking ahead while seeking support from the membership. “I ask us all to recommit to action, to not allow the optimism of the will to be overcome by the pessimism of the intellect. CDB is the Caribbean’s development bank and I pledge our readiness to act,” he said, “let us match words with action and transform our reimagined visions into reality for our people. Let’s move forward with deliberate haste.”  

The Bank’s highest decision-making body, its Board of Governors, has convened in the Turks and Caicos Islands for its 52nd Annual Meeting which concludes on June 16.