News Release No. 14/08-BG - Brazil to Join Caribbean Development Bank

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May 29, 2008 No. 14/08 - BG Brazil is to become the newest member of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Approval of Brazil's application for membership in CDB was one of the decisions taken at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the Bank's Board of Governors, which took place at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, from May 28 to 29, 2008. With Brazil's accession to membership in the Bank, this brings the total number of CDB member countries to 27, and the number of Latin American member countries to four. The others are Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. The Annual Meeting was chaired by Canada's Minister for International Cooperation, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda. In his Annual Statement to the Board of Governors, CDB President, Dr. Compton Bourne, addressed the topic of "Enhancing Trade Capacity and Trade Competitiveness". He told the Governors that the imminent signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM countries and the European Union is a definitive signal of a transition to a new era in trade and economic cooperation between the Bank's borrowing member countries and their international partners. Dr. Bourne added that trade capacity and competitiveness will be at the heart of the Caribbean's ability to benefit from the provisions of this EPA and later agreements with Canada and the United States of America. He advised that it was therefore necessary that "Caribbean countries intensively and urgently focus on strengthening their productive capacity in respect of tradable goods and services and on improving competitiveness." Governors took the opportunity to discuss a number of key issues of topical interest to the Region, including the effects of climate change and the impact of rising food and energy prices on the Region's economies. They also discussed a draft of the Bank's new Strategic Plan. During the week, contributors to CDB's Special Development Fund held discussion relating to the replenishment of the Fund to cover the period 2009-2012. The newly-elected Chairman of the Bank's Board of Governors for the coming year is the Honourable Shahid Malik, the United Kingdom's Minister for International Development. He will serve up to and during the next Annual Meeting, which is to be hosted by the U.K. in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory. Barbados and Venezuela have been elected Vice-Chairmen to serve for the same period.

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