CDB releases 2017 Annual Report

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The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has released its 2017 Annual Report, highlighting the institution’s performance, initiatives and results delivered during the year.

“The Bank recorded strong growth, and exceeded targets in both total approvals and disbursements,” said President, Dr. Wm. Warren Smith. “The Bank was able to respond quickly and meaningfully to the various setbacks and the challenges that Borrowing Member Countries faced during the year. With this level of support, CDB was able to maintain its position as a leading source of long-term development financing and capacity-building in the Caribbean,” he added.

In 2017, the Bank approved capital loans and technical assistance interventions totalling USD364 million (mn), an increase of 18% compared with 2016. Disbursements to its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) rose by 13% to USD233 mn during the year.

Economic Review and Outlook

The Annual Report details CDB’s economic outlook and review for the Caribbean Region. The Bank reports that in 2017, on average, there was an overall uptick in economic growth of 0.5% in BMCs, led by a rebound in oil prices, and supported by buoyant tourism and construction activities. “Fiscal balances remained weak in most cases; and public sector debt continued to be worryingly high in many BMCs,” according to the review.

The Bank forecasts that the regional economy will grow by 1.8% in 2018 due to anticipated improvements in global economic growth, with risks tilted to the downside. “Mitigating these risks will require improved resilience on many levels. Macroeconomic stability, increased competitiveness, improved human development, and environmental preparedness are conditions that are necessary to improve resilience, and ensure sustainable and inclusive growth and development,” the Report notes.

Project Performance

In the newly released publication, CDB also reports on its project performance across several sectors.

  • Environmental sustainability: The Bank provided Emergency Relief Grants totalling USD800,000 to Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Four Immediate Response Loans with a value of USD2.8 mn were approved to assist with immediate hurricane recovery efforts in Antigua and Barbuda, and BVI. In addition, the Bank provided a grant of USD3.5 mn to the Government of Haiti to cover its annual insurance premium to CCRIF SPC.
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency: CDB continued to promote its streetlight retrofitting programme, encouraging BMCs to undertake network-wide replacement and sustainable disposal of inefficient high-pressure sodium lamps with LED lamps. In 2017, loans were approved for streetlight retrofitting in Jamaica and Suriname; and the implementation of similar projects in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines advanced. When these projects are fully implemented, savings of at least 50% in streetlight energy consumption, system-wide, are expected.
  • Economic infrastructure: Infrastructure projects under implementation during 2017 included the construction and upgrading of approximately 32 km of roads, benefitting over 130,000 people in Belize, BVI, Guyana, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In The Bahamas, the Bank supported the installation of water supply infrastructure that improved access to water for 1,150 households. Under the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund, implementation advanced for a project in Antigua and Barbuda, which will construct and upgrade approximately 8.7 km of roads, benefitting approximately 65,000 people.
  • Regional cooperation and integration: The Bank completed the implementation of 28 projects under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the Economic Partnership Agreement Standby Facilities. Total disbursements in 2017 were USD1.4 mn. Across 11 BMCs, individuals and businesses in the creative arts, manufacturing and public sector, and small and medium-sized enterprises benefitted from the development of policy, drafting of legislation, outfitting of equipment for testing laboratories, training and workshops.
  • Private sector development: The Bank disbursed approximately USD12 mn in financing to regional development finance institutions to provide credit for 117 business enterprises, 652 student loan recipients and 23 low-to-lower income households seeking assistance for home improvement and home acquisition. In addition, CDB’s Board of Directors approved financing of USD12 mn to Dominica Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank to support housing and education.
  • Gender: CDB increased its focus on reducing gender-based violence (GBV). The Bank, in collaboration with UN Women, provided support to enhance technical capacity at the regional level to collect systematic, harmonised and comparable data on GBV which could be used to inform evidence-based decision-making.
  • Education: CDB’s interventions in education emphasised the promotion of sustainable sector outcomes. Major activities included the finalisation and approval of the Bank’s Education and Training Policy and Strategy; the launch of a Framework for the Advancement of Mathematics Education; and the provision of training designed to enhance the capacity of teachers and school administrators in instructional effectiveness and leadership.
  • Agriculture: In partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Bank worked on a study entitled, “The State of Agriculture in the Caribbean”. It highlights key trends in agriculture and the related opportunities for investments to support economic and social growth, poverty reduction, and sustainability.
  • Basic Needs Trust Fund: In March 2017, the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) was renewed for a ninth phase, with USD40 mn in commitments from Contributors. During the year, the Bank approved 18 BNTF sub-projects totalling USD4.76 mn, spanning education and human resource development, water and sanitation, and basic community access.

The release of CDB’s 2017 Annual Report coincides with the Annual Meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors, the theme of which is “resilience”.

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