Eight Caribbean countries and one British Overseas Territory are closer to accessing funding to build new roads, bridges, ports and other vital infrastructure as the United Kingdom' Caribbean Infrastructure (UKCIF) Programme becomes operational. The UKCIF was ratified on March 9th by the Board of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), paving the way for implementation of the game changing programme. The Department for International Development (DFID) will provide up to ¬£300m in grant financing from January 2016 to March 2020 to Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines and Montserrat. “As a founding member of the CDB, the United Kingdom (UK) has worked hand in hand to chart the future of the region, along with other member countries throughout our 46 years. The UKCIF will boost development and growth in the region," Dr. Smith said. He added that: “Beneficiary countries will be able to use this funding to revisit essential large scale projects that have had to be shelved because of the constrained fiscal space and severe indebtedness of many of our countries. We appreciate this grant from the Government of the UK as, successful completion of the projects will result in improvement in the lives of the citizens these countries," Dr. Smith said. It is expected that successful completion of projects under UKCIF will result in employment opportunities; improvements in livelihoods; poverty reduction; increased resilience to climate change; and positive policy action in the region. Investment in infrastructure means better access to services as well as economic opportunities for both men and women. All projects will be submitted to the CDB by the national governments and may be for both capital projects as well as technical assistance. The interventions must be anchored within CDB' strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development; and promoting good governance. This programme was first announced by Prime Minister, David Cameron last September in Jamaica and makes the UK one of the largest bilateral donors to the region. Open for Business! The United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF) is now operational. A reception was held following close of business meetings held by the Board of Directors of the CDB at the Beachcombers Hotel in Kingstown, St. Vincent and Grenadines, to mark the operationalising of the UKCIF. (L-R) Andrew Dupigny, Coordinator of the UKCIF; Cherianne Clarke, Alternate Director to CDB' Board; Dr. Warren Smith, President of CDB and Colleen Wainwright, Head of DFID Caribbean.