CDB Governors commit to tackling poverty, macro-economic, and energy sector policy reforms with greater urgency
The 46th Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) ended in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Thursday, with a commitment from its Governors to tackle with greater urgency the radical reforms needed in the energy sector; key macro-economic policy shifts that will positively impact growth and an agenda aimed at ensuring that wealth is spread equitably, leaving no one behind. The Bank' President, Dr Warren Smith said this year' meeting was the first since the launch of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provided an important platform for CDB to share its views with Governors on this agenda, while reporting on the stewardship of the institution, over the past year. The Bank was heartened, he said, by the calls from Governors for it to play a central role in helping its Borrowing Member Countries to pursue strategies and interventions that leverage their clean-energy assets. “I can assure you that we are actively building a pipeline of projects that is consistent with a greener mandate. Beyond this, we will work to strengthen the regulatory framework in countries, in an effort to catalyse further activity," he told the closing session. Governors were in agreement on the need for transformative changes in the Caribbean as they discussed the findings of research work done by the Bank on poverty and inequality; the status of the micro, small and medium size enterprises; and on maritime ports in the region. The findings were released during meeting. Regional governments were also challenged to target reforms that would enhance the ease of doing business in order to encourage private investment. “We stand ready to support capacity-building efforts and regulatory changes that could greatly enhance economic efficiency and drive growth in the Caribbean," Dr Smith said. The President endorsed the sentiment expressed by Jamaica' Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, that the Region should seek to pay for its growth through improvements in productivity and less through high debt accumulation. In focusing on the need for more inclusive growth and poverty reduction in the Caribbean, governors commended CDB on its extensive work done in main-streaming gender in its operations; and also called on the Bank to take a deeper look at, at-risk youths, and gender violence as well as the capacity in countries to advance these as critical development priorities. Dr Smith underscored the Bank' commitment to promoting cohesive societies in the Caribbean, and noted the Governors' signalling of their commitment to supporting the reform efforts required. He said however that the Sustainable Development Goals, which include gender equality and good governance must get the financial support of the Bank' Special Development Fund (SDF), which addresses these concerns. “Failure to mobilise the required resources would imperil the development outcomes, even at this very early stage in the 15-year process. I sincerely urge Governors to support a timely and generous replenishment of the SDF," Dr. Smith said. Outgoing Chairman, Jamaica' Finance Minister, Audley Shaw emphasised that there was general agreement to work cooperatively to focus on renewable energy, allowing for more private sector involvement in the respective economies, while addressing poverty and building stronger social safety nets. He said despite the challenges, leaders should not pull back because of the magnitude of the task ahead.